On Wednesday morning, the post positions will be drawn for the 2013 Belmont Stakes. Fifteen horses appear set to enter the race, which will be run on Saturday, June 8. The exact start time has yet to be determined, but NBC will cover the event from 5 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET. Expect the race to begin around 6:40 p.m. ET.
For a third straight year, no horse will be competing for a chance to win the Triple Crown. Oxbow made sure of that when the colt came in first at the Preakness Stakes. Kentucky Derby Winner Orb finished in fourth, after entering the afternoon as a heavy favorite.
Despite his underwhelming showing a few weeks ago, trainer Shug McGaughey is feeling confident about his horse. The Hall of Famer was feeling good about the horse after Orb recently ran a gallop-out of five furlongs in 1:00.48 at Belmont Park.
"I have already called Mr. Janney (Orb’s co-owner) and told him we're all on the same page and if he [Orb] has a good week it's a 'go' [for the Belmont]," McGaughey said on Sunday. "I was looking for a strong gallop-out and we got what we were looking for. I want to have a good horse for the summer, but he's doing good right now, and you never know what can happen between now and then."
Orb’s loss at the Preakness hasn’t kept him from being the favorite as Saturday nears. Sportsbook.ag gives the horse betting odds of +300 of winning on his home track.
Along with Orb, five of Todd Pletcher’s horses worked at Belmont on the weekend before the big race. Leading the way was Revolutionary, who didn’t run at the Preakness, but is expected to be a top contender in the third jewel of the Triple Crown. He ran a half mile in 0:48.51 and finished five furlongs in 1:00 2/5. Palace Malice is another one of Pletcher’s horses that is expected to make some noise on Saturday.
After his win at Pimlico, Oxbow comes in at third with +600 odds. The horse will face a new set of challenges at Belmont, where the field could increase by more than 50 percent.
Approximately half of the field isn’t expected to provide much competition. Horses such as Vyjack, Midnight Taboo and Giant Finish are extreme longshots with odds of +300.
Early Betting Odds
Palace Malice +1000
Golden Soul +1200
Freedom Child +1200
Unlimited Budget +2000
Will Take Charge +2000
Always in a Tiz +3000
Frac Daddy +3000
Giant Finish +3000
Midnight Taboo +3000
The Belmont Stakes field will be much stronger than the one in the Preakness, but Orb still stands out as the favorite. He never looked comfortable at Pimilico, and that shouldn’t be a problem when he races on his home track. Orb should benefit from this being the longest leg of the Triple Crown. Look for him to become the first horse since Thunder Gulch in 1995 to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in the same year.