Here’s the contenders for the 2013 Belmont Stakes in order of post position.
FRAC DADDY (Post Position 1—Morning Line Odds 30-1): Wasn’t expected to do much heading into the Kentucky Derby and his 16th place finish there doesn’t suggest that he’ll have anything in the Belmont he didn’t show there. Not much interest even at the price.
FREEDOM CHILD (Post Position 2—Morning Line Odds 8-1) : Looked impressive in winning the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont punching his ticket for the Belmont Stakes. His connections had hoped to run him in the Kentucky Derby but a poor run in the Wood Memorial put the kibosh on those plans. Could play into an interesting storyline if things break right in the Preakness—last November Freedom Child finished second behind Kentucky Derby winner Orb in a maiden race at Aqueduct. Finishing third in that maiden race was Revolutionary, who also finished third in the 2013 Kentucky Derby. All three horses are in the Belmont Stakes field.
OVERANALYZE (Post Position 3—Morning Line Odds 12-1): Todd Pletcher trained, won the Arkansas Derby but against a very soft field. Followed that up with a disappointing 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Most likely a pretender and not a contender.
GIANT FINISH (Post Position 4—Morning Line Odds 30-1): Wasn’t even the best 50/1 shot in the Kentucky Derby field. Connections debated whether to run him there or in an allowance race at Belmont. That’s about all you need to know about this unimpressive entry. Finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby.
ORB (Post Position 5—Morning Line Odds 3-1): Kentucky Derby winner trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey. A versatile horse who closed strong at the Derby distance of a mile and a quarter. Got a bad trip at Pimlico during the Preakness as he was unable to get off the rail and finished fourth, nine lengths behind Oxbow. No reason to think he can’t handle the Belmont distance and assuming that Joel Rosario can give him a better trip this time he’ll be a contender to win.
INCOGNITO (Post Position 6—Morning Line Odds 20-1): Kiaran McLaughlin trained, ran 5th in the Peter Pan Stakes. Hard to see him being a factor against this class. Will have a jockey change due to injury with Irad Ortiz, Jr. replacing Mike Luzzi.
OXBOW (Post Position 7—Morning Line Odds 5-1): The upset winner of the Preakness Stakes which has transformed this horse from an overmatched also ran to something of an enigma. Trained by venerable D. Wayne Lukas and will be ridden by jockey Gary Stevens. Finished 6th in the Kentucky Derby after being a pacesetter early but faded badly in the stretch. At the Preakness he led throughout leaving the field—including Kentucky Derby winner Orb—in the dust. Will now face a slower pace but longer distance in the Belmont and this could be to his liking.
MIDNIGHT TABOO (Post Position 8—Morning Line Odds 30-1): One of five Todd Pletcher trained horses in the field. Arguably the best of the long shots and is receiving some support from railbirds and dosage handicappers.
REVOLUTIONARY (Post Position 9—Morning Line Odds 9-2) Another Todd Pletcher trained prospect, Revolutionary is coming off a win in the G3 Withers at Aqueduct and a decent third place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Revolutionary’s pedigree—dame Run Up The Colors and sire War Pass—suggest that he should have some stamina but as always the question is will that ‘theoretical’ stamina translate into ‘practical’ ability to handle a mile and a half in the Belmont Stakes?
WILL TAKE CHARGE (Post Position 10—Morning Line Odds 20-1): D. Wayne Lukas trained but there’s plenty not to like. Mediocre finishes of 8th and 7th in the Derby and Preakness respectively. Could benefit from the smaller field. Not a bad horse but hard to see him being a factor here.
VYJACK (Post Position 11—Morning Line Odds 20-1): Ran himself into Derby contention with an impressive third place showing in the Wood Memorial. Some concern that this effort was an aberration and an 18th place Derby finish doesn’t bolster his cause. A deep closer that in theory at least should benefit from the Belmont pace.
PALACE MALACE (Post Position 12—Morning Line Odds 15-1): A Todd Pletcher trained horse, got a horrible trip in the Louisiana Derby but rebounded in the Blue Grass to earn a Kentucky Derby berth. Underwhelmed at Churchill Downs, finishing 12th. The story now is that the addition of blinkers in the Kentucky Derby hurt his effort. Not much to suggest that he’s got anything for a field of that class. Jockey Mike Smith is a plus.
UNLIMITED BUDGET (Post Position 13—Morning Line Odds 8-1): Trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Mike Repole this filly finished third in the Kentucky Oaks. Probably will be outclassed by the boys. Rosie Napravnik will be her jockey in the Belmont. Even Pletcher admits some concerns about stamina over the mile and a half Belmont course.
GOLDEN SOUL (Post Position 14—Morning Line Odds 10-1): There wasn’t much interest in Golden Soul prior to the Kentucky Derby off a fourth place finish in the Louisiana Derby. Some suggested that had as much to do with substandard efforts by the front runners in that race as anything else but a surprise second place finish at Churchill Downs could mean that he’s a better horse than originally thought.