Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Final Belmont Stakes Thoughts

Posted by Brian Appleton on June 7, 2013

Belmont Park is fit to serve a feast of spectacular cuisine this Saturday when the running of the 145th Belmont Stakes is preceded by a embarrassment of racing riches. Beginning with race #6, the Easy Goer Stakes and followed by the Grade 2 True North Handicap with defending champion Caixa Electronica as well as Justin Phillip and Fast Bullet, which is then followed by the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes, Grade 2 Woody Stevens Stakes and Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap. Finally racing fans will get to see the very talented Point of Entry return to the racetrack in the Manhattan Handicap after his disappointing defection from Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (Gr.1) at Churchill Downs on Derby day won by defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan. In addition the Just a Game Stakes features one of the best fields of the day with Hungry Island, Stephanie’s Kitten, Mizdirection and Centre Court all prepared to romp over the turf. But of course, the Belmont Stakes will take center stage as it should, and with a field of 13 colts and one filly entered there is little doubt in my mind that it will live up to its billing as the race of the day.

Orb has now lost his air of “invincibility” that followed him around so vigorously after the Kentucky Derby triumph and is now just one of the contestants out to prove he is the best. His record still speaks for itself, those four straight wins leading up to the Derby are just as impressive as they were before and with rain in the forecast I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that his chances in the Belmont could be enhanced a bit, especially if there’s a solid pace up front.

Revolutionary is a deserving second in the morning line favoritism. You have to love the way he always handles trouble and tough spots. For a better or a fan wishing for consistency in a horse Revolutionary fits the bill, he has hit the board in every one of his 7 lifetime starts and was on a three-race winning streak before finishing a good third in the Kentucky Derby. He’s got A.P. Indy as his grandsire on his Dam’s side and traces back to Mr. Prospector on his Sire’s side so stamina won’t be a problem. He looks like he’s got a great shot to win the Belmont Stakes, I just hope his 4 furlong works will have him ready to run the 1 ½ miles.

Freedom Child is looking a lot better in recent days to me. Apparently he’s been making quite the impression in his visits to the track at Belmont and coming off that fantastic 13 ¼ length romp in the Peter Pan Stakes (Gr.2) over a sealed sloppy track at Belmont, I’m thinking there are a lot of positives with this son of Malibu Moon. The only question he needs to answer is whether or not he can handle the step up in class, but the only time he ran against Derby caliber horses in the Wood Memorial (Gr.1) he was taken totally out of contention when the assistant starter didn’t release him as the gates opened. His :59.87 five furlong breeze at Belmont on May 27 was excellent.

Oxbow I’m not sure what to make of yet. I’m not sure if he’s the best fit for the 1 ½ mile distance but trainer D. Wayne Lukas is very pleased with his energy level since winning the Preakness Stakes which is always a good sign. I’m still picking against him, but I can easily see him finishing in the money.

Vyjack traces back to Affirmed and Storm Cat on his Sire’s side and Northern Dancer on his Dam’s side so there’s plenty of blue-blooded stamina in his pedigree, but somehow he just didn’t fire at all in the Kentucky Derby, fading to finish 18th. He was the forgotten horse heading in the Derby and it seems that once again he’s the forgotten horse, but I think it’s for good reason. I just can’t see him winning the Belmont right now unless he shows some drastic improvement.

Palace Malice being the son of Curlin makes him an instant favorite of mine so I really hope he can pull off a surprise and win the Belmont, but if not I hope he can produce a really good showing. It seems like he’s always running a good race and just missing out on the win. What more can I say? I’m a fan.

Unlimited Budget is a puzzle to me. I just don’t think she can win the Belmont, but she’s a very intriguing entrant and it wouldn’t come as a shock to see her run competitively. As a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense we at least know that she’s got stamina in her pedigree, now she’ll need to bring it to the track.

Golden Soul; I was pretty adamantly against him a few days ago, but with Belmont most likely being run in sloppy/wet conditions I think his chances improve a lot. His work was pretty strong and maybe the time off was what he needed to run a career best race.

Overall I’m still thinking Orb has the best shot to win, but Revolutionary, Palace Malice and Freedom Child are all up there for me.


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