The 2013 Belmont Stakes is in the books, and Palace Malice won it in dominating fashion.
Palace Malice, led by Mike Smith and Todd Pletcher, started out near the front and overtook Frac Daddy and Oxbow using his speed. The horse held off Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow to win the 145th test of champions. It was Smith's second career Belmont win.
The horse seemed pretty incredulous at his victory:
I just won the @BelmontStakes— Palace Malice (@PalaceMalice) June 8, 2013
This was actually an historic race for Palace Malice:
Palace Malice: wins Belmont Stakes after 12th-place finish in Kentucky Derby. That is the 3rd-worst Derby Finish by a Belmont Stakes winner— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 8, 2013
So how did this thrilling Belmont play out?
|1||12||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||$600,000|
|2||7||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||$200,000|
|3||5||Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||$110,000|
|4||6||Incognito||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Kiaran McLaughlin||$60,000|
|5||9||Revolutionary||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||$30,000|
|6||13||Unlimited Budget||Rosie Napravnik||Todd Pletcher||N/A|
|7||3||Overanalyze||Johh Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||N/A|
|8||11||Vyjack||Julien Leparoux||Rudy Rodriguez||N/A|
|9||14||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||N/A|
|10||10||Will Take Charge||Jon Court||D. Wayne Lukas||N/A|
|11||4||Giant Finish||Edgar Prado||Anthony Dutrow||N/A|
|12||8||Midnight Taboo||Garrett Gomez||Todd Pletcher||N/A|
|13||2||Freedom Child||Luis Saez||Tom Albertrani||N/A|
|14||1||Frac Daddy||Alan Garcia||Ken McPeek||N/A|
Earnings via The Triple Crown.
Kentucky Derby winner Orb started out 12 lengths behind the leader before making his run toward the top. It wasn't enough, as Palace Malice began to pull away.
Palace Malice has long been talented, and his trainer, Todd Pletcher, was just waiting for his workouts to translate into the race:
Palace Malice has been highly regarded by Pletcher for months. He finally ran in the afternoon like what they had seen in morning. #belmont— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) June 8, 2013
This will be yet another year without a Triple Crown winner, and a different horse won each leg. But that didn't make it any less exciting.
Orb, a fine horse, was just a little short in coming from behind. Oxbow, who was at the front the whole time, couldn't hold off Palace Malice, who showed his great speed in pulling away with relative ease and galloping toward the finish. Oxbow ended up finishing three-and-a-quarter lengths back.
Mike Smith proved once again why he is one of the best jockeys in the sport today, as he didn't rush Palace Malice out front until he was ready. The horse had his blinkers removed after his disappointing Kentucky Derby finish. It worked out, as the horse blazed through the track and blew by horses with some big victories under their belts.
It is disappointing that 35 years have passed since a Triple Crown winner—Affirmed did it in 1978. Still, this Triple Crown season did have excitement.
Whether it was Orb dominating the Kentucky Derby, Oxbow shocking everyone at the Preakness or Palace Malice's dominating performance at the Belmont, this season will leave horse racing fans excited for next year, when the hunt for a Triple Crown continues.