Belmont Stakes Predictions: Last-Minute Outlook for Final Leg of Triple Crown

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJune 8, 2013

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 06:  Jennifer Patterson aboard Kentucky Derby winner Orb during a training session at Belmont Park on June 6, 2013 in Elmont, New York.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The initial odds have Orb entering as the No. 1 favorite in the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday in Elmont, New York.

Jockey Joel Rosario will look to ride the Kentucky Derby winner to his second Triple Crown victory, and at least somewhat redeem the loss at the Preakness Stakes, where Oxbow won wire-to-wire.

Despite that impressive showcase, Oxbow is the third favorite at 5-to-1, while Revolutionary—who wound up in third place at Churchill Downs—was listed at 9-to-2 in Wednesday's morning line.

In this final round of predictions for the Test of the Champion, two of those three will finish in the money, but a slightly less heralded horse will come on strong from the inside to make things interesting down the stretch.

Below is a look at the complete field of 14, followed by a more detailed analysis of who the top finishers will be.

Note: Statistics and race history are courtesy of

Post Positions and Complete Field

Post No.






Frac Daddy

Ken McPeek

Alan Garcia



Freedom Child

Tom Albertrani

Luis Saez




Todd Pletcher

John Velazquez



Giant Finish

Anthony W. Dutrow

Edgar Prado




Shug McGaughey

Joel Rosario




Kiaran P. McLaughlin

Irad Ortiz Jr.




D. Wayne Lukas

Gary Stevens



Midnight Taboo

Todd Pletcher

Garrett Gomez




Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano



Will Take Charge

D. Wayne Lukas

Jon Court




Rudy Rodriguez

Julien Leparoux



Palace Malice

Todd Pletcher

Mike E. Smith



Unlimited Budget

Todd Pletcher

Rosie Napravnik



Golden Soul

Dallas Stewart

Robby Albarado


*Odds were obtained from morning line numbers, courtesy of America's Best Racing on Twitter.

Win: Orb

The odds for a favorite at 3-to-1 aren't overwhelming, mostly because of Orb's fourth-place finish in the Preakness Stakes.

However, it is clear that Orb is the best combination of size and speed in this race, and Rosario is the leading money winner amongst his peers thus far in 2013 for a reason.

This combination was so successful at Churchill Downs, and was simply a victim of bad post positioning in the No. 1 slot at Pimlico. Especially with so much time to methodically make a move over the course of 1.5 miles, Orb should experience a similar surge as he did in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

There's also a bit of history on Orb's side, according to horse racing statistician Gary Dougherty:

Rosario has the luxury of having a horse who can endure the 12 furlongs and still have enough endurance to save his best for the end.

Traffic problems may occur, but Rosario learned his lesson in the last race aboard Orb. In a far more ideal starting position at No. 5, it should be a tight race alongside Revolutionary and Oxbow most of the way.

Oxbow is more of a sprinter and should fade down the stretch, though. Revolutionary, Freedom Child and Overanalyze in a late sprint should all push for the trophy, but it will be Orb who emerges as the victor.

Place: Overanalyze

It will be another painfully close call for jockey John Velazquez in the Belmont Stakes. He rode Itsmyluckyday to second place at the Preakness, and has a physically formidable horse in this race, too.

Unfortunately, it won't be quite enough. Despite Velazquez's status as a two-time Belmont champion, Orb's prowess will be a bit too much to overcome.

Even Velazquez essentially acknowledges this himself, per The Albany Times Union's Tim Wilkin:

An impressive win at the Arkansas Derby showed that Overanalyze can compete with a top-notch field, and the horse that finished behind him was Frac Daddy, who will start closest to the rail on Saturday.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has come up empty in the Triple Crown races this season, and that will continue at the hands of Orb. Velazquez knows better than most about Orb, since he rode him to the winners circle in the Florida Derby.

Show: Revolutionary

As one of the only horses that matches up well with Orb in the field, it makes sense that Revolutionary is so highly regarded by oddsmakers.

Even on a sloppy track in the Kentucky Derby, he displayed the requisite stamina and strength to remain a factor all the way to the finish. Revolutionary also boasts impressive wins at the Withers Stakes and Louisiana Derby as part of his three-year-old campaign.

Twelve of the past 14 Belmont winners did not run in the Preakness, which shows the value of having a fresh horse. It's yet another reason why Revolutionary is considered Pletcher's best hope to snap his Triple Crown skid.

The only reservation about Revolutionary is that he was passed by Golden Soul very late in Louisville for second place and looked a little bit gassed down the last straightaway.

It's even more distance to tread at Belmont Park, and jockey Javier Castellano will have to hope for a slower pace in the early going to combat that.

J.J. Hysell of the Courier-Journal makes a brief but compelling case for Castellano and Revolutionary:

There isn't much not to like about Revolutionary, but this probable close finish is so tough to project. He'll still finish in the money, which will cap off another respectable showing in a Triple Crown race.


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