It’s possible that that we all overlooked the last two legs of the Triple Crown. Orb won the Kentucky Derby with relative ease and his main competition from the Derby passed on the Preakness. A fast pace was expected and he was going to clean up the pieces at the end. The Belmont Stakes suited his riding style and his pedigree to go the distance, so we were expecting Orb to break the 35-year curse of not having a Triple Crown winner.
Now we head to the Belmont with a wide-open situation. Ever horse has its faults. A decent amount of them have their positives. It shapes up to be a pretty wide open race, so here’s a closer look at the 14 horses.
1 – Frac Daddy – 30/1
Came into the derby with plenty of question marks and got his ass handed to him. Didn’t handle the slop too well at Churchill Downs that day, so he shouldn’t do too well in the expected slop on Saturday.
2 – Freedom Child – 8/1
Freedom Child ran so poorly in the Wood Memorial that the Kentucky Derby wasn’t even an option. He regrouped do win the second tier Peter Pan that happens on the week between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. While he did run well in the slop during the Peter Pan, that race performance looks like it may be an outlier compared to the rest of his history.
3 – Overanalyze – 12/1
One of the horses to look at if you’re avoiding the favorite because he’s arguably got the best jockey/trainer combination of the group. He’s bred to run the distance, but he hasn’t really delivered a great performance so far this year despite his win in the Arkansas Derby.
4 – Great Finish – 30/1
Great Finish was a non-factor coming into the Kentucky Derby and came out of the race in the same way after his 10th place finish. The same should apply for this race since Great Finish has had one to match his name.
5 – Orb – 3/1
You have to take one of two stances with Orb: 1) he got screwed by his post in the Preakness, was boxed inside, couldn’t find room to run, and just didn’t have his best day in his fourth place finish in the race. Or 2) The Preakness showed that Orb just isn’t that good and there’s a gameplan out there now on how to beat him. I’m going with the first stance. He won the five races before the Preakness and the distance suits him well.
6 – Incognito – 20/1
Here we have a perfect name for the kind of performance you can expect out of this horse on Saturday. If he finished fifth in the Peter Pan to a horse in Freedom Child who we don’t totally respect, why should we even give him the time of day.
7 – Oxbow – 5/1
The Preakness was a perfect setup for Oxbow. He started fast, the pace was slow, and he was able to cruise to a victory. I doubt the field will let Oxbow get away with it again. He’s another whose last race looks like an outlier with an expected regression coming this time out.
8 – Midnight Taboo – 30/1
It’ll be midnight before this horse finishes. He may have a decent career ahead of him, but he’s a little green to go against these guys off three career starts.
9 – Revolutionary – 9/2
The main competition for Orb on Sunday will come from the #9 post. The late closer should enjoy the longer distance and has the trainer connections to get him set up for a strong performance here. He’s improved his performance numbers in the last two races, so he’s headed in the right direction.
10 – Will Take Charge – 20/1
All the excuses were made for Will Take Charge after the Kentucky Derby. He was blocked off, a horse in front of him started going backwards into his path. Then he came up short in the Preakness and now there’s no excuses that are worthwhile anymore.
11 – Vyjack – 20/1
You can throw out the Kentucky Derby performance of this horse. No one was ever winning anything out of the #18 post. He had some nice races previous to that, so he could be a live one here. There’s a slight worry that part of the reason he struggled in the derby was the wet track, which we could again on Saturday.
12 – Palace Malice – 15/1
Palace Malice puts up enough of an effort to compete in second tier races, but he proved he wasn’t worthy of the big boys with his 12th place finish in the Derby. It’s possible that he got pulled into a hot pace in the Derby and a slower pace might create a better effort.
13 – Unlimited Budget – 8/1
Here we have a filly who wants to run with the boys and hopes to do as well as Rags to Riches did in winning it six years ago. Unfortunately Unlimited Budget isn’t as good as Rags to Riches was given that she wasn’t capable of winning the Kentucky Oaks. There’s more style than substance in this choice.
14 – Golden Soul – 10/1
It’s surprising that the second place finisher in the Kentucky Derby could come into the Belmont Stakes with such little fanfare. He closed as others tired in the Derby, so he’s certainly got the ability to handle the extra distance of this race.
Projected order of finish:
1 – Orb
2 – Revolutionary
3 – Golden Soul
4 – Overanalyze