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Las Vegas, NV - The Third Jewel in the Triple Crown is a little over a week away and the field is starting to take shape. The Belmont Stakes will be run June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York when the best three year olds in the land go 1 1/2 miles for the winner's share of the $1 million purse.
Although some of the intrigue was lost when Orb lost the 2013 Preakness Stakes a couple weeks ago the race still offers its share of storylines. Both Triple Crown-race winners from this year will be in the field - Orb and Oxbow will duke it out, Todd Pletcher will be looking to break through on the Triple Crown stage and legendary trainer Bob Baffert looks as though he will send out just one contender yet again.
Here is a brief glance into the 13 probables for next week's Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, the early odds attached to them and what brought them to this always exciting Grade 1 event. The field could look a little different next Wednesday when entries are confirmed and post positions are confirmed - stay tuned to OffTrackBetting.com for all of the leadup to the Big Race.
Orb 5-2 - entered the Preakness Stakes having won four straight races this year - the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/4 lengths, the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 30 at Gulfstream, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 23 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 26. But he finished a somewhat disappointing fourth in the Preakness as overwhelming favorite. He still has the attention of the oddsmakers and rightfully so - the Preakness was viewed as more of a slight blip rather than a sign that this colt is wearing down. With Shug McGaughey training him and Joel Rosario riding Orb, he is still the early watchmaker's odds choice.
Revolutionary 4-1 - highly regarded Todd Pletcher trained colt entered the Kentucky Derby on a three race win streak - a terrific score in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby March 30, a win in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct February 2 and an 8 1/2 length win over Transparent at Aqueduct December 28 over 1 mile. He finished an OK third in the Derby and skipped the Preakness. He looks to be Pletcher's best chance for a Triple Crown victory and is the most rested of the top 3 contenders. Revolutionary is a serious threat to Orb and Oxbow as the watchmaker odds suggest!
Oxbow 5-1 - was an OK sixth in the Derby and was the eighth choice in the Preakness at 15-1 odds. In impressive and surprising fashion he upset the field in the Preakness and came up with his first win since the Lecomte Stakes in January. Prior to the Preakness he was fifth in the Arkansas Derby, a good second in the Rebel Stakes and then the Grade 2 LeComte Stakes win in January but he had placed in just two of six stakes starts in his career. Obviously legendary jockey Gary Stevens made a huge difference in the Preakness - can they catch lightning in a bottle again?
Freedom Child 8-1 - made his stakes debut in the Wood Memorial with a tenth place finish April 6 after four MSW races. He broke maiden in wire-to-wire fashion by 5 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream March 10 after a third, a second and an eighth respectively to start his career. Last time out however was his most impressive run to date - a great win in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes on this track May 11. Freedom Child hopes to build upon that confidence at Belmont for trainer Thomas Albertini in the colt's first Triple Crown appearance.
Golden Soul 10-1 - is coming off a very impressive run at the 2013 Kentucky Derby - a second place finish behind Orb after he finished an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds March 30, a pedestrian sixth in the Grade 2 Risen Star February 23 and a good second in the Grade 2 LeComte Stakes January 19. He has placed in four of six career starts - the only two blemishes coming two and three races back but there is no denying that Golden Soul is on the radar after his Kentucky Derby result.
Unlimited Budget 10-1 - very impressive Todd Pletcher trained filly has five career starts (4 graded stakes) and four impressive wins - the last coming March 30 in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks after a win in the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra Stakes also at Fair Grounds February 23. She also won the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct in November. Her only career loss came last time out - an OK third in the Kentucky Oaks May 3. She races against the boys for the first time in the Belmont Stakes but looks more than ready for the challenge.
Code West 15-1 - Bob Baffert pupil had a nice second place finish by a nose to I've Struck a Nerve in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds February 23 and followed that with a sixth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. Since then he has two Allowance starts - a win last time out at Pimlico May 18 followed a second May 4 at Churchill Downs. He has been just OK this year and has win just two of nine career starts and seems a little outclassed in the Belmont.
Overanalyze 15-1 - Todd Pletcher colt won in the Grade 2 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park September 30 to put his name on the map and then recorded another impressive win in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct November 24 after an OK third as 9-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes October 28. He was an ugly fifth in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct March 2 but bounced back in a big way with an impressive score in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park April 13. His Triple Crown experience didn't go so well - an eleventh in the Kentucky Derby. Overanalyze has been a tad inconsistent in his career but has the speed to contend in the Belmont.
2013 Belmont Stakes wagering online with OffTrackBetting.com
Palace Malice 15-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt was in the money in all of his first five career starts before a disappointing seventh in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds March 30. He bounced back from that disappointment with a very nice second in the Blue Grass Stakes April 13 behind Java's War. He was twelfth in the Kentucky Derby; he skipped the Preakness and hasn't tasted victory since August 2012 but has reportedly looked very good in workouts leading up to the Belmont Stakes.
Will Take Charge 20-1 - is one of the two colts that raced both legs of the Triple Crown so far. He was eighth in the Kentucky Derby and seventh in the Preakness after an impressive win in the Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn Park in March. A lot of people had him as a possible sleeper for the Preakness but he failed to impress. Will Take Charge has three wins and a second place finish in nine career starts for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Giant Finish 30-1 - has six career starts for trainer Anthony Dutrow and is coming off a tenth in the Kentucky Derby after an OK third in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes March 23, an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Aqueduct January 17 and a second in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park February 2 behind General Election. He has two wins, a second and a third place finish in six career starts and is a long shot in the Belmont Stakes.
Midnight Taboo 30-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt would be making just his fourth career start if he saddles up in the Preakness. He started his career with a second in a MSW before breaking maiden April 6 at Aqueduct. He is coming off another second last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track May 8. Needless to say, the Belmont Stakes is an enormous step up in competition for this lightly raced colt.
Always In A Tiz 50-1 - is coming off a ninth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 6 after a fifth in his graded stakes debut at the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Before that was a third in the minor Smarty Jones Stakes behind Will Take Charge, a decent second in the Traskwood Stakes and a MSW score in his career debut at Saratoga in September. Always in a Tiz is the longest shot on the board as it sits 10 days before the Preakness.
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