More than two horses will compete in the 2013 Belmont Stakes, but with so much attention on Orb and Oxbow, one couldn't tell.
The Kentucky Derby champion Orb and Preakness Stakes champion Oxbow are heavy favorites to finish first at Belmont Park, the former receiving the slight edge from oddsmakers.
Here are those odds according to the Belmont Stakes’ official website and what people are saying about the race’s contenders.
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Oddsmakers aren’t the only ones who are afraid to bet against Orb despite his fourth-place finish at Pimlico. Terry Finley, co-owner of Freedom Child, raved about the Derby champ.
“He is the horse that if you're being totally rational, he's the horse who scares me,” said Finley, according to Alicia Wincze Hughes of the Lexington Herald-Leader. Finley continued:
He's such a quality horse. It's just not easy for a horse to run as well as he did at Churchill and then ship and come back in two weeks to replicate that performance. It's also not easy to come back in three weeks but he's the horse that is really in the back of my mind. But there are 5-6 others that have the talent to win this race. They just have to have a good day, us included.
The horse that’s expected to compete with Orb the hardest isn’t the horse that woke him up from his Triple Crown dreams, but Revolutionary. It finished third at the Derby and is well rested after sitting the Preakness. Kevin Liang of the Vancouver Sun praised the skipping strategy as something that could give Revolutionary an edge.
Revolutionary’s trainer Todd Pletcher, who entered a record five horses in the race—Overanalyze, Midnight Taboo, Palace Malice and Unlimited Budget along with the favorite—believes that a fast pace at Belmont would ultimately allow the most talented thoroughbreds to distance themselves from the pack.
“The Belmont can be a very demanding race,” Pletcher said, according to Richard Rosenblatt of the Associated Press via Telegram.com. “Pace was a factor in both the Derby and Preakness and it’ll dictate who is going to do what. A slower pace will allow some of these horses to run a little further and a fast pace will really expose some of them.”
Whether Orb, Revolutionary and Oxbow will be able to set a fast pace or not will be revealed Saturday, June 8 at 6:36 p.m. ET.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.