The 145th running of the Belmont Stakes was short on drama down the stretch, but that hardly dilutes the thrilling victory of Palace Malice.
Running out of the No. 12 post, the 15-1 underdog Palace Malice was a cut above the rest in this one, running a beautiful pace and finding himself toward the front throughout.
He and Preakness winner Oxbox were the two front-runners coming into the last turn, but Palace Malice—ridden by Mike Smith—was able to outlast him and pull away by nearly four lengths.
Kentucky Derby winner (and odds-on favorite) Orb made his patented late surge, flying from the back of the pack to the front in the second half of the race. Palace Malice and Oxbow were both more tired toward the end (the latter more than the former), but Orb simply dug himself into too big of a hole this time. He had too much ground to make up.
Jockey Mike Smith, a Hall of Fame racer, wins his second Belmont Stakes after guiding Drosselmeyer to victory in 2010. That year, just like this year, Smith's victory at Belmont ensured that three different horses would win the three Triple Crown races.
Four of the past five years have seen no multiple winners, and six of the last eight. Prior to that, though, one horse had one multiple races in five consecutive years and eight of nine.
Palace Malice showed great resolve to come out victorious, having been humbled with a 12th place finish at the Kentucky Derby. Per ESPN Stats & Info., that's the third-worst Derby finish for an eventual Belmont Stakes champion.
Full results from Belmont can be seen below (per NBC telecast):
|1||12||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher|
|2||7||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas|
|3||5||Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey|
|4||6||Incognito||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Kiaran McLaughlin|
|5||9||Revolutionary||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher|
|6||13||Unlimited Budget||Rosie Napravnik||Todd Pletcher|
|7||3||Overanalyze||Johh Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
|8||11||Vyjack||Julien Leparoux||Rudy Rogriguez|
|9||14||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart|
|10||10||Will Take Charge||Jon Court||D. Wayne Lukas|
|11||4||Giant Finish||Edgar Prado||Anthony Dutrow|
|12||8||Midnight Taboo||Garrett Gomez||Todd Pletcher|
|13||2||Freedom Child||Luis Saez||Tom Albertrani|
|14||1||Frac Daddy||Alan Garcia||Ken McPeek