The 2013 Belmont Stakes brought with it another plot twist in this year's Triple Crown running, as Palace Malice took the 145th running in stunning fashion.
While Palace Malice's exciting run to victory was the biggest story to come out of Saturday's Belmont Stakes, there were plenty of twists and turns, as some favorites failed to compete and other big names nearly found themselves in the winner's circle.
We may not have a Triple Crown winner or even a horse who won two legs, but Saturday's race was thrilling from start to finish and is well-deserving of another look.
Let's take a look at the biggest highlights and surprises from the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes.
2013 Belmont Stakes Results
|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|
*Per NBC's telecast
Here's a clip of the full race, as Palace Malice barely edged out Oxbow and held off a late surge from Orb.
Palace Malice Runs a Perfect Race
Coming in as a 15-1 underdog, not many bettors had their money on Palace Malice after the colt finished 12th in this year's Kentucky Derby.
He proved his critics wrong early on, staking out one of the front-runner positions around the first turn and assuming it for the rest of the race. In doing so, he accomplished a feat only matched two other times in history, per ESPN Stats & Info.
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
It wasn't exactly a walk in the park for Todd Pletcher's horse to do so, with Orb coming on late and Oxbow giving him a run for his money throughout the 1 1/2 miles. And after a poor showing at the Kentucky Derby, the horse even surprised himself, per Palace Malice's Twitter account.
I just won the @BelmontStakes— Palace Malice (@PalaceMalice) June 8, 2013
Palace Malice further proved the notion that any horse who makes such an illustrious field is capable of putting together a perfect race on one of horse racing's biggest stages.
Orb's Late Run Comes Up Short
Despite his inability to find the outside at the Preakness, Orb came into the final leg of the Triple Crown as one of the favorites. With his ability to make late runs, if he could get to the outside, there was no telling what could happen.
Coming around the final turn, that's exactly where Orb found himself as he made his signature late push that he patented at the Kentucky Derby. In no time, he was in third place, just behind Preakness winner Oxbow and Palace Malice. Orb was just three lengths behind the two contenders.
But down the final few furloughs, the Claude "Shug" McGaughey-trained horse seemed to run out of steam and couldn't close the gap any further. ESPN anchor Bram Weinstein was quick to point out that the trainer, despite his no-regrets demeanor, might be thinking of what could have been.
“@lanegold: Shug said he was happy that he ran Orb in a three Triple Crown races.” there are some things he's not happy about as well— Bram Weinstein (@BramESPN) June 8, 2013
It's no surprise that fatigue set in for Orb, who has run in each of the three Triple Crown legs and ran brilliantly in all of them.
But when Orb got to the outside and began cutting into the lead, I was a believer.
Frac Daddy Surprises Early, Fades Down Stretch
One of the biggest underdogs at 30-1, Frac Daddy stunned racing enthusiasts when he bolted out to an early lead and seemed ready to vie for victory after the first turn.
Frac Daddy stuck around in the front of the pack for the first minute-and-a-half, posing a real threat to the championship race with some worthy competition racing alongside him.
However, he seemed to use up all of his energy in doing so. Down the stretch, Frac Daddy quickly fell to the back of the pack and finished dead last.
While it may not be a big surprise to see Frac Daddy finish at the back of the pack, he shocked us by getting out to an early lead that he was stubborn to relinquish. After Oxbow's start-to-finish victory at the Preakness in May, Frac Daddy had some believers about halfway through the Belmont Stakes.
All odds are courtesy of Belmont Stakes' morning line.