Many expect Saturday's 2013 Belmont Stakes to be a two-horse showdown between Orb and Oxbow, two of the favorites who are both coming off recent wins in two previous legs of the Triple Crown.
But as the Preakness Stakes taught us last month, there are no guarantees in horse racing—especially at the 1.5 mile-long Belmont Park, where the lengthy distance serves as an X-factor for the underdogs.
Below we'll take a closer look at the 14-horse field in Saturday's event, highlighting the favorites to watch for at Belmont Park.
2013 Belmont Stakes Post Positions and Odds
|1||Frac Daddy||A. Garcia||K. McPeek||30-1|
|2||Freedom Child||L. Saez||T. Albertrani||8-1|
Overanalyze ||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher||12-1|
|4||Giant Finish||E. Prado||A. Dutrow||30-1|
|5||Orb||J. Rosario||C. McGaughey III||3-1|
|6||Incognito||I. Ortiz Jr.||K. McLaughlin||20-1|
|7||Oxbow||G. Stevens||D.W. Lukas||5-1|
|8||Midnight Taboo||G. Gomez||T. Pletcher||30-1|
|9||Revolutionary||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher||9-2|
|10||Will Take Charge||J. Court||D.W. Lukas||20-1|
|11||Vyjack||J. Leparoux||R. Rodriguez||20-1|
|12||Palace Malice||M. Smith||T. Pletcher||15-1|
|13||Unlimited Budget||R. Napravnik||T. Pletcher||8-1|
|14||Golden Soul||R. Albarado||D. Stewart||10-1|
*Odds and other information courtesy of the race's official site.
Top Contenders to Watch For
The 2013 Kentucky Derby champion, Orb, has the closing speed to challenge any horse in Elmont on Saturday.
The 12 furlongs pose a stiff test, sure, but judging by what we saw from Shug McGaughey's colt last month at Churchill Downs, if he's in the mix late, you can bet he'll be a threat to take charge and outrun the field to the finish line.
While you can't take away from Oxbow's fantastic performance at Pimlico, it's certainly fair to point to Orb's unfortunate post draw as a big reason why he was unable to keep his streak alive in Baltimore.
Orb was forced to the rail early and never truly recovered. He can't afford another slow start this weekend, but this time, Orb will start from post No. 5, well off the rail and in position to avoid early traffic.
Oxbow showed tremendous talent and stamina at Pimlico three weeks ago, leading from wire-to-wire to win the Preakness Stakes, upsetting Orb in the process.
Starting from post No. 7 this weekend, Oxbow once again looks poised for a strong outing. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt won't have to worry about being pinned down early or having to makeup too much ground from the outside.
Instead, it should be smooth sailing for Oxbow from the jump, much like it was at the Preakness.
If there's an obvious reason to love Oxbow on Saturday, it's that he's no doubt the hottest horse coming into the Triple Crown finale.
It's been awhile since we've heard from Revolutionary. One of several Todd Pletcher-trained horses running in Saturday's race, the third-place finisher at the Kentucky Derby is expected to run toward the top this weekend despite skipping the Preakness.
Which favorite has the best shot to win the 2013 Belmont Stakes?
Jockey Javier Castellano will sit atop Revolutionary on Saturday, replacing Calvin Borel, who rode him at Churchill Downs last month.
But just because his name doesn't begin with an O doesn't mean you should bet against Revolutionary at Belmont. Keep in mind that this horse won the Grade II Louisiana Derby and the Grade III Withers Stakes before showing in Louisville last month.
The speed and power are there when it comes to Revolutionary, but the question facing him and the rest of the field is whether he can maintain it over the course of 12 furlongs.
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