Belmont Stakes 2013: Biggest Surprises and Disappointments

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Belmont Stakes 2013: Biggest Surprises and Disappointments
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

The 2013 Belmont Stakes did not go as expected, as a number of under-the-radar horses shocked the world with a strong performance, while some of the favorites struggled to live up to the pre-race hype.

While Orb and Oxbow both hit the board, the colt parading through the winner’s circle donning the blanket of carnations—Palace Malice—wasn’t projected to be there.

Let’s take a look at the complete results from the third jewel of the Triple Crown and see who surprised, who disappointed and more during in this year’s Test of Champions.

 

Complete 2013 Belmont Stakes Results

Finish

Post

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

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

 

Mild Disappointment: Revolutionary

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Revolutionary was a quiet letdown, as this Todd Pletcher-trained colt didn’t receive much media coverage or hype from the general public, but went off as one of the favorites at 9-2 due to strong financial backing.

He finished third at the 2013 Kentucky Derby, running out of track before getting a chance to catch the eventual winner, Orb. You would believe his enticing performance at 10 furlongs and decision to skip the Preakness in order to train for the Belmont would have resulted in overwhelming success at 12 furlongs, but that simply didn’t happen.

While he started out hot near the front of the pack, Revolutionary began to fade when he was supposed to gain steam and withered away as the race went—an issue he avoided beneath the Twin Spires.

Perhaps the pace that Frac Daddy set was too swift for the colt, as he clearly didn’t have anything left in the tank down the stretch and ended up finishing fifth overall—a disappointment for a horse with so much promise.

 

Mild Surprise: Oxbow

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

It may seem strange to call the winner of the 2013 Preakness Stakes’ second-place finish at the Belmont a surprise, but with the amount of disrespect and criticism Oxbow had to endure in the weeks leading up to this event, it’s a bit astonishing he performed so well.

The colt went off at 5-1, behind favorite Orb—who he bested at Pimlico three weeks prior—and Revolutionary, which likely added to jockey Gary Stevens’ and trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ motivation to exceed expectations at Belmont Park.

Due to his wire-to-wire victory on the short, 9.5-furlong track in Baltimore, there was much doubt on Oxbow’s ability to hang around in a longer race.

However, he fought until the end, only ceding first place to Palace Malice down the stretch when the eventual winner proved that he had something special in him that day.

For that and more, Oxbow deserves credit for his solid second-place showing at Belmont.

 

Biggest Disappointment: Unlimited Budget

Al Bello/Getty Images

There wasn’t a better storyline surrounding this race, as jockey Rosie Napravnik and filly Unlimited Budget had a chance to make history and catapult the popularity of their sport by winning it all last Saturday.

This all-female tandem clearly had the talented rider. At 25 years old, Napravnik has climbed her way to the top of the jockey class. It also boasted the talented mount, as Unlimited Budget—from the Street Sense line—is big and strong enough to hang with any colt in the world.

While the pair did make the record books when Napravnik became the first female jockey to compete in all three Triple Crown races in one calendar year, they have to feel disappointed they didn’t earn more.

Unlimited Budget could have become just the second filly to win at the Belmont in over 100 years. They could have become the first female jockey and female thoroughbred combination to win a Triple Crown race. There was so much left on the table that was there for the taking; it has to hurt them to think about it.

However, Unlimited Budget was a non-factor at Belmont. She was in the middle of the pack for much of the race and didn’t put up a fight down the stretch.

Her sixth-place finish—despite going off at 8-1—was arguably the biggest disappointment of the day.

 

Biggest Surprise: Palace Malice

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The odds speak for themselves, as 15-1 Palace Malice parlayed a disappointing 12th-place showing in the Run for the Roses and a month of training into a ridiculous stretch sprint and a first-place finish at the 2013 Belmont Stakes.

It seems all that time spent with trainer Todd Pletcher preparing for this race paid off, as Palace Malice didn’t attempt a suicidal surge out of the gate—as he did at Churchill Downs—and waited patiently to make his move.

Was Palace Malice the biggest surprise of the Triple Crown season?

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However, he was smart enough to not hang too far back, needing to only pass a handful of competitors—notably Oxbow—to barge his way to the front of the pack.

Although a few hopefuls attempted to catch him at the finish with a late push of their own, Palace Malice was able to muster enough speed in the final lengths to win it all.

As one of the major long shots going into this race, there were few that truly believed Palace Malice had what it took to make the winner’s circle. His insane pace out of the gate last month turned off potential backers, but Pletcher was clearly able to find a way to settle his mount down.

Jockey Mike Smith did the rest and Palace Malice is now in the record books as the latest winner at the Test of Champions.

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