Palace Malice races into the history books.
The 145th running of the Belmont Stakes is in the record books. When all is said and done, the 2013 Triple Crown season will be remembered as one full of thrilling races, talented horses and surprising outcomes.
Orb, Oxbow and Palace Malice all earned their spots in history with their respective classic wins. At this point, the three-year-old championship is largely up for grabs, and it will be interesting to see who emerges as a standout of the trio.
On Saturday, Palace Malice earned redemption for a bizarre performance in the Kentucky Derby and rewarded the patience and sportsmanship of owner Cot Campbell, a longtime supporter of the industry.
Here are the big winners and losers from the Belmont Stakes.
Bob Baffert was without a starter in the Belmont.
At the beginning of the year, it looked like trainer Bob Baffert would dominate the Triple Crown. With what seemed like an endless supply of top three-year-olds, it seemed unfathomable that he would wind up without a starter in two of the three races.
After being forced to miss the Kentucky Derby with Govenor Charlie, Baffert brought him back to the Preakness for a disappointing second-to-last-place finish. After that, the man who won the Belmont in 2001 with Point Given and sent out Paynter to a gallant runner-up finish last year was without a starter in one of horse racing's biggest events.
Even without a starter in the Belmont Stakes, he managed to have a winning day, but without a contender for the big prize, those victories may have felt slightly hollow.
The Hall of Famer saddled two stakes winners on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Of the two, Power Broker looks to be a sure player in the three-year-old division after an authoritative victory in the Easy Goer Stakes under Rosie Napravnik.
Pletcher earned his second Belmont Stakes victory after a 2007 win with Rags to Riches.
It took five starters, more than a third of the 14-horse field, but trainer Todd Pletcher took home the big prize with Palace Malice in the Belmont Stakes.
After a frustrating showing in the Kentucky Derby where the best his horses could manage was third, he sat out the Preakness with Palace Malice, Overanalyze and Revolutionary and regrouped for the Belmont Stakes. His perseverance was rewarded.
His relationship with Dogwood Stables and Cot Campbell is a long one, and many of his earliest successes came with them. In his first-ever go at the Kentucky Derby in 2000, one of his starters was the Dogwood colt, Trippi. Thirteen years later, they finally got a win in a Triple Crown race.
Mike Repole is one of the most active and outspoken owners in the sport. He plays the game at the highest level and desperately wants to take home the major trophies.
As a New Yorker, the Belmont Stakes is the most coveted prize in all of horse racing.
Though Repole is always a big player, the Triple Crown races have been elusive. In 2011, his superstar colt Uncle Mo was forced to scratch the day before the Derby with a mystery ailment. That same year, he was denied the Belmont when Stay Thirsty finished second.
After sending three horses out in this year's Belmont Stakes, the best result was a sixth-place finish by the filly Unlimited Budget. The other two horses carrying the orange and blue silks of Repole Stable were up the track.
On the Friday before the Belmont Stakes, a veteran horse named Calidoscopio rallied from last to first in a thrilling effort to win the Brooklyn Handicap, a mile-and-a-half contest for older horses.
And old he certainly is. At 10 years old, the 2012 Breeders' Cup Marathon winner became the first 10-year-old in history to win a stakes race on dirt.
In the Preakness Stakes, the senior combination of 50-year-old jockey Gary Stevens teamed up with 77-year-old master D. Wayne Lukas won with Oxbow. The pair wound up a game second in the Belmont, but their Triple Crown run was a victory for old-timers everywhere.
In the Belmont, the elders continued to reign supreme with the 47-year-old Mike Smith giving senior Cot Campbell's partnership Dogwood Stable its second victory in a Triple Crown race with Palace Malice.
Golden Soul proved he needs an off track.
Golden Soul proved one thing on Saturday in the Belmont Stakes, and that was that his runner-up finish as a long shot in the Kentucky Derby was a fluke performance.
His prior record had been spotty, and there was speculation that he moved up in the Derby because of a fast pace and an off track. When he did not have an off track in New York, he barely picked up his feet, finishing ninth in the field of 14.
Even though his effort in the Belmont Stakes was disappointing, he still has a runner-up finish in the Derby to his credit, and that in itself is an accomplishment.
Though she wound up finishing sixth, Rosie Napravnik continued her ascent toward the top with a tremendous showing in the Triple Crown.
In addition to competing in all three Triple Crown races, Napravnik continued her dominance nationwide and has built her already impressive resume as the year has gone on. She is not just the best female jockey around; she is one of the best riders in the country of either gender.
Heading into the second half of the season, she may have another top three-year-old to ride in Power Broker, who she guided to victory in the Easy Goer Stakes for Bob Baffert.
Joel Rosario achieved every rider's dream in the Kentucky Derby.
Joel Rosario is having a very good year, but his good start to Belmont Stakes Day wound up ending in disappointment.
On Belmont Stakes Day, it was just a typical day at the office for Rosario, who had three wins on the card heading into the Belmont, two of which came against stakes company. His third-place finish on Orb in the Belmont Stakes must have stung, as the pair was looking for redemption after the Preakness Stakes.
Though he did not win the biggest prize of the day in the Belmont Stakes, he is still regarded as one of the top riders in the country.
Mike Smith wins all the races.
After getting his share of criticism for allowing Palace Malice to bulldoze his way through suicidal fractions in the Kentucky Derby, Mike Smith redeemed himself in the Belmont Stakes with a masterful, patient ride to earn his fourth victory in a Triple Crown race.
Smith is a clutch rider. This is a jockey with ice in his veins, and he is known for getting the biggest effort out of his horse when it matters the most.
In addition to being a truly talented rider, he has such an obvious love and respect for the animals. Immediately following his victory in the Belmont Stakes, one of the first things that came out of his mouth being interviewed was a request for the outrider to loosen Palace Malice's noseband and make him more comfortable.
Orb wound up third in the Belmont Stakes.
After his victory in the Kentucky Derby, Orb had even the most hardened racing fan dreaming of a Triple Crown. After such a drought without a Triple Crown, everyone wanted to believe that this was the year.
It was not the year.
Orb capitalized in the Kentucky Derby on an off track and an extremely fast pace. Is he a good horse? Absolutely. Is he a great horse? Not yet.
He had every opportunity to catch Palace Malice and Oxbow in the Belmont Stakes, and he was unable to take advantage of the long stretch to make a major impact.
He won the battle in the Kentucky Derby but lost the war.
Palace Malice wins the Belmont Stakes.
The question that will always linger with Palace Malice is how different his outcome in the Kentucky Derby may have been without the experimental blinkers.
After a troubled trip in the Louisiana Derby, his connections remained confident that he was a better horse than that race indicated and persevered with him on the Triple Crown trail. He redeemed himself slightly in the Blue Grass Stakes but still went into the Kentucky Derby with only a maiden victory to his credit.
He rewarded their confidence and faith in a big way in the Belmont Stakes, rebounding sharply after an equipment change caused him to set intense fractions in Louisville. He earned the second victory of his career and heads into the second half of the season as a potential star on the rise.
He is getting better and better.