Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One Filly, 13 Colts in Belmont Stakes

Fourteen horses are scheduled to contend the mile and a half Belmont Stakes on Saturday.  The Belmont is the third race in the Triple Crown series, and Orb, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, as well as Oxbow, the winner of the Preakness, will be there to fight for a stab at the three-year-old championship title.  This is the longest race that most of these horses will ever run in their lives.  When the thoroughbred horse breed was being developed, races were run over a course of 4 or 5 miles, in heats.  The eventual winner of the race might run 8 to 16 miles before being declared the "best horse."  Today's race horses are not bred for those distances.  If any of these horses are switched to the turf, they might run a mile and a half, or longer, occasionally.  If any end up steeplechasing, they could end up running up to five miles while leaping timber or brush fences.  The Belmont Stakes is meant as a true test of stamina for these three-year-olds, who are just entering adulthood.  I wish all of them well.
   First, I'll state some of the frivolous facts: twelve of the horses were bred in Kentucky, with Giant Finish bred in New York, and the filly Unlimited Budget bred by Ocala Stud in Florida.  Two of the colts are registered as grey or roan; five are chestnuts; and seven are bays (two are dark brown).  Freedom Child is a ridgling, Vyjack is a gelding, and Unlimited Budget is a very large filly.  Five of the entries, including the filly, are trained by Todd Pletcher, and D Wayne Lukas trains two - Oxbow and Will Take Charge.  The week before the 1988 Kentucky Derby, Gary Stevens fell in a race and didn't ride on Sunday; the following Saturday, he won the Derby on Winning Colors for D Wayne Lukas.  Stevens took a fall this past Saturday and didn't ride Sunday.  Saturday he will be in the stirrups of Oxbow, riding for D Wayne Lukas.  If Nick Zito had any horses entered, I'd definitely place a bet on them - but for once, Zito doesn't have an entry.  Palace Malice will be running without the blinkers he wore in the Kentucky Derby.  And, as a final aside, since Unlimited Budget is a filly, she carries 3 pounds less (123) than the boys (126).
   So here is the post position draw for the Belmont, with the horse's name followed by the surname of the trainer and the jockey:
1.   Frac Daddy     McPeek/Alan Garcia
2.   Freedom Child    Albetrani/Luis Saez
3.   Overanalyze     Pletcher/John Velasquez
4.   Giant Finish     Dutrow/Edgar Prado
5.   Orb     McGaughey/Joel Rosario
6.   Incognito     McLaughlin/Irad Ortiz, Jr.
7.   Oxbow     Lukas/Gary Stevens
8.   Midnight Taboo     Pletcher/Garrett Gomez
9.   Revolutionary     Pletcher/Javier Castellano
10. Will Take Charge     Lukas/Jon Court
11. Vyjack     Rodriguez/Julien Leparoux
12. Palace Malice     Pletcher/Mike Smith
13. Unlimited Budget     Pletcher/Rosie Napravnik
14. Golden Soul     Stewart/Robby Albarado

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