In a complete surprise, Ruler on Ice captured the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes by less than a length over fellow long shot Stay Thirsty.
Despite having no pressure at the beginning of the race, Shackleford ran moderate fractions when they weren't necessary. The opening quarter was run in 23.4 and the half mile in just under 49 flat.
The pace of the race at the start wasn't even in the biggest event—Animal Kingdom nearly went down after clipping heels with Monzon. As the field approached the first turn, Animal Kingdom was dead last and appeared completely out of the race.
Very little changed during the first eight furlongs of this race, as Shackleford maintained a small lead and Mucho Macho Man was always with six lengths.
As they turned for home, I thought Master of Hounds was going to make a huge run on the rail but he faded quickly. Mucho Macho Man never made the move on the outside but Animal Kingdom did.
Shackleford dug in but eventually faltered and Ruler on Ice roared by and held off Stay Thirsty.
Ruler on Ice was one for two previously on the off track and was adding blinkers for this triple crown race. The last race this three-year-old won was a $53,000 allowance race on February 22.
At 24:1, Ruler on Ice paid $51.50 and the exacta of 3 and 2 returned $928 for every two dollars wagered. The superfecta of 3-2-5-6 paid over $74,000 for two dollars.
With the triple crown now over and Saratoga right around the corner, it will be very interesting to see how each horse is pointed over the next few months with the Breeders Cup Classic only five months away.
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