Even though there isn’t the excitement of a potential Triple Crown winner looming over this event, the 2013 Belmont Stakes promises to be one of the most exciting races of the year.
One of the reasons for that is the length, as this romp across the dirt in New York is a whopping 12 furlongs and gives plenty of room for a horse to separate itself from the pack—or be overtaken down the stretch.
While I can’t be sure what will happen on Saturday—I’d be a much richer man if so—a handful of contenders seem to have what it takes to win the Test of Champions.
Let’s take a look at these hopefuls.
Note: All horses are listed as probable entries at Horse Racing Nation. Race history is courtesy of Equibase.com. Odds via Mike Watchmaker of The Daily Racing Form.
This Kentucky Derby winner has been installed as the favorite at Belmont, despite a disappointing finish at the Preakness Stakes on May 18.
Some may point to Orb’s fourth-place finish at Pimlico and count him out of this competition, but it would be downright foolish to make that mistake. Regardless of how poorly Shug McGaughey’s colt performed a few weeks ago, he’s projected to be right in the thick of things on Saturday.
For one, Orb has proven that he’s dominant on longer tracks, coming from well behind down the stretch beneath the twin spires to capture the Run for the Roses.
The shorter distance at Preakness didn’t afford this thoroughbred enough space to make his late surge and he wound up crossing the finish line nine lengths back.
Had Orb not run out of track, there’s little doubt he would have closed the gap and shortly surpassed the rest of the field in that race.
With Belmont measuring in at a whopping 1.5 miles, that certainly won’t be an issue here for Orb. Expect this favorite to live up to his billing and at least hit the board at the conclusion of this event.
After falling just short at Churchill Downs back on May 5, Revolutionary took some time off, avoided the Preakness and began preparing for the Belmont Stakes.
That training should pay dividends on Saturday, as this third-place finisher at the Derby is prepared, rested and primed to make a serious bid to capture the Run for the Carnations.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has elected to switch jockeys in a bid to capture the third jewel of the Triple Crown, tabbing Javier Castellano to ride this colt to greatness.
It’s an interesting call but one that may wind up taking Revolutionary from a decent contender to surefire winner.
While Castellano has yet to win a Belmont, his hunger and skill are exactly what this team needs to break through and finally win in 2013.
Unlimited Budget (10-1)
Unlimited Budget is attempting to become the first filly to win with a female jockey aboard in Belmont Stakes history.
Not to mention, Rosie Napravnik will make history just by participating in the race, as she’s primed to become the first female jockey to ride in all three Triple Crown events in one calendar year.
Besides all of the great storylines surrounding this horse and jockey combination, Unlimited Budget has a real chance to win with her elite abilities.
Although she fell short in the Kentucky Oaks to Princess of Sylmar, this filly has great size, strength and other attributes that will allow her to easily compete with the other thoroughbreds competing in this race.
Expect Napravnik, who showed at the Preakness aboard Mylute, to have her mount at or near the front of the pack when she reaches the finish line at Belmont.