Belmont Stakes 2013: Analyzing Palace Malice's Surprising Win over Orb, Oxbow
Palace Malice easily won the 2013 Belmont Stakes, pulling away from Oxbow, Orb and the rest of the field with a magnificent sprint down the home stretch.
By the time Palace Malice and jockey Mike Smith crossed the finish line, they had opened up a huge lead on the field, as noted by The Downey Profile:
Palace Malice won by 3 1/4 lengths over Oxbow, with Orb beaten five lengths, Incognito six lengths and Revolutionary 6 1/2 lengths.— The Downey Profile (@DowneyProfile) June 8, 2013
Thanks to modern technology, Palace Malice wasted no time tweeting out his victory:
I just won the @BelmontStakes— Palace Malice (@PalaceMalice) June 8, 2013
Right out of the gates, Frac Daddy—from his No. 1 post against the rail—charged out to an early lead, with Freedom Child and Giant Finish trailing close behind. Orb and Oxbow both got out of the gates cleanly, as did Palace Malice.
Oxbow took the lead at one point, with Palace Malice trailing in third place heading into the penultimate turn, while Orb lingered near the back of the pack for a late surge.
Smith prompted Palace Malice to go full bore heading into the final turn, and the horse rounded the corner down the straightaway as if shot out of a cannon. Oxbow, Orb and the rest of the field looked slow by comparison, and in the end Palace Malice won by a wide margin.
Here are the final results of the 14-horse field.
|2013 Belmont Stakes Results|
|1||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher|| |
|2||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||7||$9.90 (Place)
|3||Orb ||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||5||$3.90 (Show)|
|4||Incognito||Irad Ortiz Jr.||
Kiaran McLaughlin ||6|
|5||Revolutionary||Javier Castellano ||Todd Pletcher||9|
|6||Unlimited Budget||Rosie Napravnik||Todd Pletcher||13|
|7||Overanalyze||John Velazquez ||Todd Pletcher||3|
|8||Vyjack||Julien Leparoux ||Rudy Rodriguez||11|
|9||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||14|
|10||Will Take Charge||Jon Court||D. Wayne Lukas||10|
|11||Giant Finish||Edgar Prado||Anthony Dutrow||4|
|12||Midnight Taboo||Garrett Gomez||Todd Pletcher||8|
|13||Freedom Child||Luis Saez||Tom Albertrani ||2|
|14||Frac Daddy||Alan Garcia ||Ken McPeek||1|
*Odds based on $2 bet, courtesy the NBC Sports broadcast.
After a 12th-place finish at the Kentucky Derby, there wasn't a lot of buzz surrounding this particular Todd Pletcher-trained horse. Revolutionary—not Palace Malice—was supposed to challenge Orb and Oxbow for the wreath of carnations.
ESPN Stats & Info highlighted Palace Malice's improbable victory after such an abysmal showing at the Derby, reporting it was the third-worst showing at the Derby by an eventual Belmont winner:
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
Pletcher made a huge change after Palace Malice's disappointing finish at the Derby, however, that seemed to make all the difference in the world at the Belmont Stakes. After putting blinkers on the horse at Churchill Downs, he decided to abstain from doing the same thing at Belmont, according to Sports Network (via the Miami Herald):
The blinkers that jazzed him up in the Kentucky Derby come off and we anticipate no problem with pace or distance. He always rated kindly in previous races, and he will be in good hands with Mike Smith.
And he was in good hands with Smith, who guided the colt to a masterful run on the grueling mile-and-a-half (12 furlongs) track at Belmont Park.
Fresh legs also had something to do with Palace Malice's strong finish. Oxbow and Orb both ran in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, while Pletcher held his horse out of the Preakness to keep him fresh for the final leg.
In fact, Palace Malice was the seventh horse since 2000 to win the Belmont after running in the Derby and then skipping the Preakness.
Palace Malice's place in history is now secure. This horse will now see his descendants favored as potential Belmont winners, as he proved without a shadow of doubt to have the pedigree to conquer "The Test of Champions."
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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