Belmont Stakes: Breaking Up The Field - 06/04/13
With a crowded field of 15 looking likely for Saturday's running of the Belmont Stakes, many starters will have a punchers chance. With the field still unconfirmed, that will happen tomorrow morning, I will attempt to break the possible field up into a few groups to get a better idea of what to expect come Saturday. Obviously post positions and the weather forecast could throw a wrench into the plans of some but on paper this is what I am looking at right now.
The Usual Suspects
Orb - The colt will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing effort in the Preakness. He was able to rally for fourth in the middle jewel, his first lost since November of last year. Orb has a solid pedigree to handle the mile and one half distance.
Oxbow - The Preakness winner set a fair pace and wired the field in Baltimore. His rematch with Derby winner Orb is one of the story lines for Saturday. While I do not think Oxbow will run on the lead, he will be close and is eligible to improve off his Preakness performance.
Revolutionary - After finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, Revolutionary skipped the Preakness to focus on the final leg of the Triple Crown. He will be making his third start off the layoff which is a positive factor for a big run. Javier Castellano gets back onboard for the Belmont and has won his two career mounts on Revolutionary.
Need To Be Respected
Freedom Child - The 13 length winner of the G-II Peter Pan at Belmont Park will be out to prove his nay-sayers wrong. A non-starter in the Wood Memorial after getting tangled with the starter, he bounced back in the Peter Pan, albeit over a sloppy track. Was his romp aided by the track or his Freedom Child talented enough to be a factor in here. That's the question we're still searching for an answer to.
Golden Soul - Finished second the Kentucky Derby. His pedigree would suggest he can handle the longer distance. Golden Soul has improved as the distance has gotten longer as well. He has not won a graded stakes so it remains to be seen if his second in the Derby was more a product of a hot pace or actual ability.
Incognito - On paper Incognito could be seen as an easy throw away. But if you read between the lines and watch his previous trips, there is certainly more to this horse than just two career wins in six starts. He has finished strong in each of his starts and has the stamina to get the mile and a half track. If nothing else, Incognito has shown he is up for a challenge. Don't sleep on him come Saturday.
Overanalyze - The Todd Pletcher trainee has a big run somewhere in his tank and I think he might be saving it for Belmont. Overanalyze did not really have an answer in the Derby, though he did pick off a few rivals in the stretch. The winner of the Arkansas Derby should not have an issue with the distance. He did win his only previous start at Belmont, the G-II Futurity last September.
Palace Malice - After setting a suicide pace in the Kentucky Derby, one would suspect Palace Malice will cool his jets in the Belmont. The blinkers should come off on Saturday. He will be up close in my estimation, and those front-running types have been successful in the Belmont.
Still Some Questions
Frac Daddy - If we throw out the Derby, can he improve off his second place finish in the Arkansas Derby?
Giant Finish - Hasn't won anything other than a maiden and conditional optional claimer. Didn't run poorly in the Derby, but didn't run well either. Is he a cut below the rest?
Midnight Taboo - The lightly raced three year-old finished second in a conditional optional claimer last time out at 1 1/16 miles. Without a substantial running line he leaves more questions than answers.
Unlimited Budget - This filly will be trying to follow in the footsteps of Rags To Riches from a few years back. She has a few graded stakes wins under her belt but the competition has been nothing like what she will see in the Belmont.
Will Take Charge - Was running along well in the Kentucky Derby before he was checked around the far turn. A choice of mine in the Preakness, Will Take Charge never fired. Have we already seen the best of Will Take Charge?
In Over Their Heads
Always In A Tiz - In two graded stakes tries he has never been up to the challenge.
Vyjack - A mile and one half looks to be too far.