The 145th running of the Belmont Stakes marks the final leg of the 2013 Triple Crown. With two high-stakes races already in the books this year, bettors have the book on just about every contender.
Or do they?
The Belmont can be a tricky race to project. Its place at the end of the stakes schedule and long 1.5-mile track can set up horses that have looked great to this point come up short on the final big stage of the Triple Crown.
Here's a look at the latest odds from Bovada:
|1||Frac Daddy||Alan Garcia||Ken McPeek||28-1|
|2||Freedom Child||Luis Saez||Tom Albertrani||17-2|
|3||Overanalyze||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||14-1|
|4||Giant Finish||Edgar Prado||Anthony Dutrow||33-1|
|5||Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||5-2|
|6||Incognito||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Kiaran McLaughlin||25-1|
|7||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||6-1|
|8||Midnight Taboo||Garrett Gomez||Todd Pletcher||33-1|
|9||Revolutionary||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||11-2|
|10||Will Take Charge||Jon Court||D. Wayne Lukas||20-1|
|11||Vyjack||Julien Leparoux||Rudy Rodriguez||25-1|
|12||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||12-1|
|13||Unlimited Budget||Rosie Napravnik||Todd Pletcher||10-1|
|14||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||12-1|
As heavy favorite Orb showed at the Preakness, being a favorite doesn't equate to guaranteed success on the track.
Whether it be a heavy race schedule, poor post performance or the lack of endurance to go a strong 1.5-miles, these horses are bound to disappoint.
After his dominant wire-to-wire victory at the Preakness, Oxbow is a favorite to capture the Test of the Champion.
Will Oxbow win the Belmont?
However, bettors may want to avoid buying into the hype. There's plenty of reason to be wary of backing Oxbow.
First there's the extensive schedule he's run so far this year. The Belmont will be his seventh start this year—a pretty heavy schedule compared to some of the other horses in the field. It should also be noted that in those six starts, he has netted only two victories.
Then there's the issue of distance. Oxbow's two victories came on two of the shortest tracks he has run all year, and the Belmont is the greatest test of endurance that he will face.
It's more likely he tires down the stretch like he did in the Kentucky Derby than dominate throughout like he did at the Preakness.
The buzz surrounding Golden Soul leading up to the Belmont is understandable. He finished second at Churchill Downs and hasn't raced since. He'll be a well-rested contender.
The problem for Golden Soul is post position. He has the unfortunate distinction of starting from the outside in a rare 14-horse field at the Belmont.
According to Belmont Stakes info, no horse has won the Belmont starting beyond the No. 11 post position.
While Golden Soul has shown the impressive endurance needed to compete, he hasn't shown that he can win. His second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby tied for his best finish in four starts—he's never won a race.
Even at the Derby, he was losing ground to Orb down the stretch. There's a good chance that's the horse he'll need to run down to win at the Belmont.
Will Take Charge
Will Take Charge isn't really considered a "favorite" by any means, but if you're looking for an interesting long shot, this isn't the horse for you.
Horses that run both the Preakness and Belmont haven't done well historically. Horses that have sat out the second leg of the Triple Crown have won 14 of the last 16 Belmont races. Will Take Charge not only ran the Preakness but also looked poor in doing so.
He finished in seventh place in the nine-horse field—a slight improvement from his eighth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby. Lukas was a big winner with long shot Oxbow at the Preakness, but Will Take Charge doesn't have a similar performance in him.