Archive for the ‘Belmont Stakes 2013’ Category

Stylish Return for Revolutionary

It was worth the wait. Revolutionary rumbled past Fallen Sky in a geared down 1/2 length tally at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Revolutionary saddle cloth Kentucky Derby 2013

Photo by Stacy Edwards

Returning at a distance clearly shorter than his best off a 7+ month layoff and prepping for the G1 Donn ‘Cap, Revolutionary was comfortably ambling along and racing outside, about 4-lengths off the lead after a 1/4 mile. He crept a bit closer after a 1/2 in :46 and change and six panels in 1:09.84. He was just stretching his legs with two furlongs to go.

I was not sure he was going to get there turning for home, but he looked every bit a winner once Castellano got after him in the lane. It was a perfect prep for the Donn and Pletcher and company should be very pleased with the WinStar Farm colt. He should relish the nine furlong distance next time.

Hopefully, I will get to watch my Derby buddy race in Louisville later this year. I would like to see more attractive odds than the 1-5 offered on Saturday, but fair value might be hard to come by if he continues to win races with ease.

The company will get saltier in the near future but the talented son of War Pass should be up to the challenge. He could be any kind of performer if he stays healthy and the Handicap Division just got a lot more interesting!

Good Luck, Revolutionary!

My Kentucky Derby 2013 selection Revolutionary returns to action in the second race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 11. He will break from post 1 as the 7-5 morning line favorite in the flat mile optional claiming affair. Saturday’s rider Javier Castellano has booted him home twice.

Revolutionary

Jarrod and Revolutionary at WinStar Farm – photo by Stacy Edwards

Revolutionary lost his first three career starts as the favorite before springing to life with a maiden win and a visually impressive tally in the G3 Withers on the inner dirt at Aqueduct last winter. He punched his Kentucky Derby ticket with a late running tally in the G2 Louisiana Derby and rallied for the show five weeks later on the first Saturday in May. The Todd Pletcher trainee figured to have a big say in the G1 Belmont Stakes but was shelved after a flat 5th place effort.

I visited Revolutionary at WinStar Farm in the fall and he looked the picture of health. He shipped to Florida this winter, shows eight published workouts at Palm Meadows Training Center since Nov. 19, and appears primed for a large 4-year-old campaign.

Hopefully, he returns a more mature horse, and, if all goes well tomorrow, he will move on to the G1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 9.

Some other horses that I saw during my WinStar visit have also returned to the worktab recently, including Queenie’s Song (3f turf in :40.05 at Palm Meadows on 1-8), Flirtatious (3f bullet in :36 at Fair Grounds on 1-6), Normandy Invasion (4f in :50 at Palm Meadows on 1-5), and Alakazan Alakazan (4f gate bullet in :47.40 at Palm Meadows on 1-4). I will continue to follow the horses that I saw at WinStar and post updates as the make it to the entry box.

Beyond the 2013 Triple Crown: Summer Stakes Preview

The 2013 Triple Crown series is in the books and the 3-year-old calendar will heat up again in July when racing moves to Saratoga.  

Derby winner Orb, Preakness hero Oxbow, and Belmont Stakes upsetter Palace Malice all figure to point to the G1 Travers, the mid-summer Derby at Saratoga on Saturday, August 24.

The G1 Jim Dandy Stakes, the local prep for the Travers, will take place on Saturday, July 27.

Verrazano tops the list of G1 Haskell Invitational contenders following a facile win in the G3 Pegasus at Monmouth Park on July 16. Itsmyluckyday was supposed to test him in the Pegasus but was pulled up with an injury and is out for four months. The Haskell is set for Sunday, July 28.

In the video below, I recap the Triple Crown series, as well as the Matt Winn and Pegasus Stakes. Finally, I look at five horses to watch this summer/fall.

Belmont Stakes 2013 Day Analysis Recap

Thanks to everyone for purchasing my Belmont Stakes Day analysis from Belmont Park on Saturday, June 8. For those who missed it, I have included highlights and analysis below.

Belmont Stakes Day analysis highlights:

BEL 7 (G2 True North) FAST BULLET ($3.60), Exacta w/Laurie’s Rocket ($23.60)
Daily Double (race 6-7, $8.20)
Daily Double (race 7-8, $12.60)
Pick 3 (race 6-7-8, $29)
BEL 9 (G2 Woody Stephens) Forty Tales/Declan’s Warrior EXACTA (best bet #3, $97)
BEL 10 (G1 Manhattan) POINT OF ENTRY ($3.10), TRIFECTA ($57)
Double (race 9-10, $34.60)
Pick 3 (race 8-10, $119)

Upcoming Today’s Racing Digest full cards:

Churchill Saturdays (June 15, June 22, June 29)

Belmont Park Saturdays (July 6, July 13)

Saratoga Saturdays (July 20, July 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31)

Full card analysis can be purchased directly through me or via my Handicapper Page at TodaysRacingDigest.com. contact me at calkid692002@yahoo.com for more information.

Palace Malice Belmont Stakes 2013

Palace Malice surprises foes in Belmont Stakes 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Belmont Stakes Day Full Card Analysis – Saturday, June 8, 2013

By Jarrod Horak (horseracingnation.com, pick6blog.com)
Weather
: AM Showers (50% chance). High 71. Best Bets (races 5, 6, 9, 11)

BEL 1 (OC-14k/1x, 6f) #5 TYCOON CAT (5-1) was nabbed out of his last by claiming artist Jacobson and Alvarado is 7-for-10 with this outfit recently. Both of his career wins occurred here and the versatile 5yo gelding gets pace to chase in the paper race. He is 2-for-45 lifetime and 0-for-15 at 6f but he goes for much better connections now. #9 Master Cip (2-1) earned the best last race number in a clear place finish at this course/distance May 4. The early-pressing threat dons the hood and attracts Rosario. #12 Comandante (8-1) always runs his race on fast/wet dirt. Trombetta excels turf/dirt and the early-pressing type can spring forward 2nd off the shelf. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta 5/9-12, Exacta 9-12/5

BEL 2 (OC-25k/1x. 7f) #2 SLAN ABHAILE (7-2) fired Exacta shots in all three outings including back-to-back strong effort at this distance. The winner from his last came back to score again and Romans is sending out live wires here. #7 Integrity (3-1) cuts back and ran well at 7f at the Gulf Feb. 21. Rosario is 2-for-3 with Chad Brown. #5 Odea (6-1) is dangerous when he shakes loose early on wet tracks. He has yet to race beyond six furlongs. #9 Whatabouthonor (8-1) owns an ascending numbers pattern and hails from a profitable, low profile barn. I think 7f is pushing the stamina envelope. #4 Bad Hombre (15-1) got loose on wet footing at this course/distance May 11. Alvarado hops aboard and I am sure his connections are doing a rain dance. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Trifecta 2-5-7/2-5-7/2-4-5-7-9

BEL 3 (MSW, 7T) #9 ATLANTIC’S SMILE (5-1) fired a local gate bullet May 31 and dam has tossed three winners from as many starters. Stormy Atlantic is a solid turf sire and she might be a factor on any footing. #4 Lara (6-1) earned a better number on the drop here May 12. Dam has tossed a turf winner and Levine excels 2nd off the shelf#6 It’s Your Dime (5-2) is the one to catch on any footing. Stevens hops aboard the returnee. Main Track Only #13 Isn’tshewonderful (2-1) and #14 Concealed (5-2) own competitive dirt numbers. Rosario rides the former and the latter dons the hood for the productive Alvarado/Jacobson team. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Trifecta 4-9/4-6-9-13-14/4-6-9-13-14

BEL 4 (MSW, 8f) #1 EL GENIO (5-1) deserves a second chance after taking action and finishing 5th from the rail post in his 5.5f local bow May 15. He adds lasix-blinkers and the inside post is 30% at this trip. Iselin is 2-for-3 with second timers. #8 Captain Davrick (4-5) will probably earn his diploma at miniscule odds. He owns an ascending numbers pattern and exits a clear place finish over wet footing at Churchill. Rosario hops aboard the early-pressing gelding. #9 Native Singer (6-1) debuts with some decent local works and Galluscio can strike with a firster. Dam has tossed three winners. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Quinella 1-9/8

BEL 5 (MSW, 8f) #4 ACCELERARE (6-1) finished a solid 3rd in his local debut at 5-2 in the slop May 11. Pletcher excels with second timers and he also saddles #1 Sneaky Blowout (5-1). The latter ran well in his 7f bow at the Gulf under today’s rider Johnny V and was the beaten favorite at 8.5f here April 28. #6 Howie’s Tiz (7-2) finished a ½ length in front of Accelerare off a lengthy layoff last time. Rosario strings along and Levine excels 2nd off the shelf. THE PLAYS: #4 to win, Exacta 4/1-6, Exacta 1-6/4  

BEL 6 (Easy Goer, 8.5f) #9 IRSAAL (4-1) earned vastly improved numbers with the addition of lasix in his last pair and he handled wet tracks both times. #4 Doherty (6-1) finished behind Irsaal in his last pair and his numbers continue to rise. #2 Power Broker (7-5) exits a smart wet track win at Churchill. Napravnik sticks and she has been clicking with Baffert recently (Code West, Midnight Lucky). #8 Wabbajack (8-1) owns a rising numbers pattern and sharp, low profile trainer Toner excels with his recent grads trying winners for the first time. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9/2-4-8, Exacta 2-4-8/9   

BEL 7 (G2 True North, 6f) #1 JUSTIN PHILLIP (7-5) has never been better. He exits back-to-back wins and moves up on wet footing. The Asmussen trainee has struck three times here. #1A FAST BULLET (7-5) makes his first start in more than six months. The lightly raced 5yo clearly has physical problems but he is talented when healthy. #2 Laurie’s Rocket (12-1) handles wet footing and is usually good for at least a share at 6f. #5 Caixa Electronica (7-2) won this last year and handles wet tracks. #6 Sage Valley (5-2) eyes five straight and must avoid a bounce. Johnny V hops off in favor of Justin Phillip. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Exacta 1-5-6/2

BEL 8 (G1 Just a Game, 8T) Overseas invader #5 LAUGH OUT LOUD (15-1) seems to handle any turf footing and horses bred in Great Britain seem to relish less than firm footing when they run in the U.S. She captured a Group II at this trip over soft ground last year. #1 Hungry Island (4-1) and #2 Stephanie’s Kitten (5-2) finished necks apart at Churchill May 4 and both handle various turf conditions. The former has struck three times here and the latter is 3-for-4 at 8f. #7 Better Lucky (12-1) has won in the mud, slop, and firm turf so why not yielding or soft ground? Rosario at a square price. #3 Centre Court (3-1), #4 Dayatthespa (6-1), and #6 Mizdirection (7-2) are a combined 22-for-32 on turf but all seem to prefer firm footing. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Trifecta 1-2-5/1-2-5/7

BEL 9 (G2 Woody Stephens, 7f) The paper race pace scenario looks demanding and #3 CAPO BASTONE (6-1) would love a speed duel. The Pletcher trainee is an effective late running sprinter and reunites with winning pilot Johnny V. He handles fast/wet dirt and earned his best career number in the G3 Derby Trial last out. #7 Forty Tales (5-1) necked Capo Bastone under the Twin Spires April 27 and is a solid off the pace threat once again.  #1 Declan’s Warrior (6-1) is 2-for-2 at this course/distance and a neck shy of a perfect 5-for-5 career mark. #9 Clearly Now (6-1) is versatile and always runs his race around one turn. #6 Zee Bros (4-1) is lightning quick and new pilot Napravnik is 3-for-4 with Baffert recently. He graduated at seven panels and would appreciate a speed favoring track. #11 Let Em Shine (3-1) is quality SoCal speed for the deadly Maldonado-Kitchingman team. His price is less than ideal and I want to see him prove it in this spot. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-7, Exacta 3-7/1-9  

BEL 10 (G1 Manhattan ‘ Cap, 10f inner turf) #1 POINT OF ENTRY (3-5) has won 6 of his last 7 and the fresh, classy 5yo horse handles firm/yielding turf. He owns running style versatility and is reportedly training better than ever. #5 Optimizer (6-1) is an iron horse and the Lukas trainee handles any type of turf footing. The multiple Grade III winner usually falls a bit short vs. classier rivals but Rosario is up and he always tries hard. #4 Real Solution (12-1) won on heavy ground in Italy and can spring forward in his second U.S. start for Chad Brown. Leaproux is a solid grass rider. THE PLAYS: Trifecta 1/4-5/ALL, Trifecta 1/ALL/4-5

BEL 11 (G1 Belmont Stakes, 12f) 12 of the last 14 Belmont Stakes winners skipped the Preakness (exceptions – Afleet Alex, Point Given). 6 Derby losers since 2000 skipped Preakness and won Belmont (Union Rags, Summer Bird, Jazil, Birdstone, Empire Maker, Commendable) #9 REVOLUTIONARY (9-2) was my Derby top and galloped out in front after landing the show on the first Saturday in May. He won his other three routes including the productive LA Derby and is fresh and ready to turn the tables on Orb. He was 2nd in his lone start here last year and his strong female family should enable him to navigate this marathon trip. He handles fast/wet dirt and reunites with winning pilot Castellano. #3 Overanalyze (12-1) wins every other race and he’s a Belmont Stakes winner if that pattern holds. The 3-time Graded winner captured the G2 Futurity here and owns the right grinding style to succeed at this distance. He reunites with 2-time Belmont Stakes winning rider Johnny V. His late sire Dixie Union was responsible for last year’s Belmont hero Union Rags. #5 Orb (3-1) had his 5-race win streak snapped in a flat Preakness effort from the dead-rail. He is better than his last and continues to train forwardly but this is his third start in five weeks. I have always liked Shug’s colt and maybe my Derby exacta box (Revolutionary-Orb) will come together this time around. #1 Frac Daddy (20-1) is firing bullets and there is talk of him going for the lead from the rail. McPeek has won the Belmont before and I liked him earlier this year. #14 Golden Soul (10-1) chugged up for the place in the Derby and can get a small piece of this. #13 Unlimited Budget (8-1) had her undefeated streak snapped with a Ky Oaks show finish. Female family says no to 12f but she will be in the right stalking spot under Napravnik. #12 Palace Malice (15-1) has not won beyond 6.5f and is eligible for entry level spot. #2 Freedom Child (8-1) freaked in the Peter Pan mud and might get wet footing again. He is training well for this but does not look like a marathon type. #7 Oxbow (5-1) stole the Preakness but won’t get loose this time and he never wins when he fails to set the pace. #6 Incognito (20-1) owns a decent pedigree but is not this quality yet. #10 Will Take Charge (20-1) is a gem of inconsistency. #11 Vyjack (20-1) is not bred for this trip. #4 Giant Finish (30-1) looks like a pace factor at the most. #8 Midnight Taboo (30-1) is lightly raced and overmatched. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9/3-5, Exacta 3-5/9, Trifecta 3-5-9/3-5-9/1-2-3-5-9-12-13-14

BEL 12 (OC-20/1x, 7T) #10 VISIONANDAPRAYER (5-1) ran well for new trainer Englehart in the local slop (off the turf) at 7f May 11. Barn $$ rider Irad Ortiz Jr. sticks and he’s a forwardly placed threat on any footing. #5 Why Not Whiskey (8-1) won his lone try at this course/distance (good ground) last year and needed his 8.5f comeback May 18. Main Track Only entrants #13 Bond Vigilante (3-1) and #14 Ultimate Empire (2-1) must be respected on dirt. The former beat a next out winner March 30 and the latter romped in the local mud May 9. THE PLAYS: #10 to win, Exacta 10/5-13-14, Exacta 5-13-14/10 

BEL 13 (Clm-20k, 8.5f inner turf) #1 NINEINTHENINE (3-1) handles firm/yielding turf and wet dirt. #4 J W Blue (4-1) looks like a threat on any footing for the productive Alvarado/Jacobson team. If this race moves to dirt, keep an eye on Main Track Only entrants #13 Sovereign Default (5-2) and #14 Handsome Harbor (7-2). They both exit place finishes in the local slop. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Exacta 1/4-13-14, Exacta 4-13-14/1

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4 contenders – in order of preference

Race

1   (5-9-12)
2   (2-7-5-9-4)
3   (9-4-6-13-14)
4   (1-8-9)
5   (4-1-6)
6   (9-4-2-8)
7   (1)
8   (5-1-2-7)
9   (3-7-1-9)
10 (1-5-4)
11 (9-3-5)
12 (10-5-13-14)
13 (1-4-13-14)

Belmont Stakes 2013 Preview: Orb 3-1 Favorite

The field has been set for Belmont Stakes 2013 and 3-1 morning line favorite Orb will break from post position five.

Belmont Stakes 2013 Post Positions

PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, ML Odds

1. Frac Daddy, Ken McPeek, Alan Garcia  30-1
2. Freedom Child, Tom Albertrani, Luis Saez  8-1
3. Overanalyze, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez  12-1
4. Giant Finish, Tony Dutrow, Edgar Prado  30-1
5. Orb, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario  3-1
6. Incognito, Kiaran McLaughlin, Irad Ortiz Jr.  20-1
7. Oxbow, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens  5-1
8. Midnight Taboo, Todd Pletcher, Garrett Gomez  30-1
9. Revolutionary, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano 9-2
10. Will Take Charge, D. Wayne Lukas, Jon Court 20-1
11. Vyjack, Rudy Rodriguez, Julien Leparoux 20-1
12. Palace Malice, Todd Pletcher, Mike Smith 15-1
13. Unlimited Budget, Todd Pletcher, Rosie Napravnik 8-1
14. Golden Soul, Dallas Stewart, Robby Albarado 10-1

Recent Belmont Stakes History

12 of last 14 Belmont Stakes winners skipped Preakess (exceptions – Afleet Alex, Point Given).

Since 2000, 6 Derby losers skipped Preakness and won Belmont Stakes (Union Rags, Summer Bird, Jazil, Birdstone, Empire Maker, Commendable).

Fast Track Radio Show

For Belmont Stakes Day best bets and more, tune in to The Fast Track with Steve Borstein radio show on Saturday (June 8) morning at 10am (Eastern Time). Saturday’s guests include Joe DePaolo, Jarrod Horak, and Molly Jo Rosen.

Click here to listen to Saturday’s show.

Belmont Stakes Day Full Card Analysis

My Belmont Stakes Day analysis is available on my Handicapper page at Today’s Racing Digest.

Click here to visit my TRD Handicapper page. For bonus free pick, click view sample.

 

 

 

Belmont Stakes 2013 Video Preview

We are less than a week away from Belmont Stakes 2013. In the video below, I discuss the recent history, projected pace scenario, and pedigrees. I have also included a written preview of all fifteen Belmont hopefuls.

Belmont Stakes 2013 hopefuls

Belmont Stakes 2013 Hopefuls (in alphabetical order):

Always in a Tiz (Tiznow) – Wood Memorial also-ran breezed 5f in 1:01.12 (2/8) at Belmont Park on 6-1. I fancied him earlier this year but the Test of Champions looks like an ambitious placement.

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Arkansas Derby runner-up was last seen finishing 16th on the first Saturday in May. He sports back-to-back bullets at Churchill Downs, most recently traveling 4f in :47.80 (1/42) on May 31.

Freedom Child (Malibu Moon): Freaked in the muddy Peter Pan Stakes and looms a pace factor at the very least in the Test of Champions. Split Orb and Revolutionary in a maiden race at the Big A last November. Has reportedly looked good in his Belmont gallops and breezed 5f in :59.87 (5/28) at Big Sandy on 5-27.

Giant Finish (Frost Giant) – New York bred son of Frost Giant finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby. Breezed 4f in :49.20 (4/9) at Fair Hill on 5-27.

Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher took advantage of a pace meltdown to land the place in the Kentucky Derby. Dallas Stewart’s late runner breezed 5f in 1:00.40 (3/13) at Churchill Downs on 5-30.

Incognito (A.P. Indy) – McLaughlin trainee is by a Belmont Stakes winner and was last seen finishing 5th in the Peter Pan. He breezed 4f in :48.25 (13/57) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 6-2.

Midnight Taboo (Langfuhr) – Lightly raced Pletcher/Repole runner breezed 5f in 1:00.88 (10/26) at Belmont Park on 6-2.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Everything went right in the Kentucky Derby but the wheels came off the cart in the Preakness, ending his 5-race winning streak. He was confirmed for the Belmont Stakes after a 4f breeze in :48.30 (11/46) at Belmont on 6-2.

Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – 3-time graded winner (G2 Futurity, G2 Remsen, G1 Arkansas Derby) ended up 11th in the Kentucky Derby. He wins every other race and June 8 could be his day if that pattern holds. Breezed 4f in :48.01 (7/46) at Belmont Park on 6-2 and gets the services of 2-time Belmont Stakes winning rider John Velazquez (Union Rags, Rags to Riches).

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee snuck away early and stole the Preakness for Stevens. He breezed 6f in 1:14.60 (1/2) at Churchill Downs on 5-30.

Palace Malice (Curlin): Risen Star show finisher ended up a troubled 7th in the LA Derby and rebounded with a 2nd in the Blue Grass. He set fast splits (blinkers on) before fading to 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He breezed 4f in :47.56 (4/46) at Belmont Park on 6-2.

Revolutionary (War Pass) – He has been my top ranked 3yo since February and my confidence has not wavered following a solid show finish in the Derby. I thought the Belmont Stakes was perfect for him after his smart Withers score earlier this year and he is bred to run all day on the dam side. He breezed 4f in :48.51 (14/46) at Belmont Park on 6-2.

Unlimited Budget (Street Sense) – 3-time graded winner lost for the first time after landing the show in the Kentucky Oaks. The Pletcher/Repole filly fired a 4f bullet in :47.55 (1/46) at Belmont Park on 6-2 and Rosie Napravnik will ride in the Belmont Stakes.

Vyjack (Into Mischief) – Overachiever does not own a strong marathon pedigree. The Kentucky Derby also-ran is scheduled to have his final Belmont Stakes workout on June 4.

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – 2-time stakes winner (Smartly Jones, G2 Rebel) was a troubled 8th in the Derby and 7th in the Preakness. Breezed 6f in 1:15.80 (2/2) at Churchill Downs on 5-30.

Check out my Saturday (June 8) full card analysis from Belmont Park (available soon) at TodaysRacingDigest.com.

Upcoming full cards:

Belmont (Fri. June 7 – Brooklyn ‘Cap Day) – coming soon!
Belmont (Sat. June 8 – Belmont Stakes Day) – coming soon!


Preakness 2013 Recap – Oxbow steals show

Congratulations to Preakness 2013 hero Oxbow. Nobody wanted the early lead and Gary Stevens was more than happy to canter around the track and win this second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Oxbow wires field in Preakness 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow, owned by Calumet Farm, is a war horse for throwback connections Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens. The Preakness Stakes was his 11th lifetime start and there is no rest in sight with the Test of Champions squarely on his radar screen.

Did Lukas scare everyone from a pace perspective? He entered sprinter Titletown Five and possibly fooled jockey Kevin Krigger aboard Goldencents.

Titletown Five did not go for the lead under Leaproux, and Goldencents failed to take advantage so Stevens and Oxbow walked the dog from start to finish.

I knew that Oxbow was best on the lead but did not think he was quick enough to get there. The pace figured to be slower than the Derby but I did not see the crawling Preakness pace coming.

Runner-up Itsmyluckyday was making his 12th career start in Baltimore so chalk another one up for experience. He got the best of the draw as an outside stalker and rediscovered his sharp Florida form.

Mylute picked up another minor check in stakes race. He was the only one making up any ground and the Preakness was his fifth place/show finish in the stakes ranks.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb seemed to be living a charmed life until he drew the dead rail. The outside closer never looked comfortable and went through the motions in a flat 4th place finish.

Granted, before the Preakness, Orb handled wet/fast footing and various pace scenarios but the Derby fell into the lap of a closer and everything went perfectly for Shug and company on the first Saturday in May.

Goldencents had one shot and that was to attempt a wire job but was ridden passively. He is a quality early runner with distance limitations and his best weapon was taken away at Pimlico.

Departing sat right outside of Orb and made a top three bid along the inside turning for home. He flattened out to finish 6th and was not disgraced in his toughest test to date.

Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, and Titletown Five trailed.

It is on the Belmont Stakes in 20-days and my top ranked sophomore Revolutionary looms large in the Test of Champions.

Belmont Stakes 2013 logo

Early Belmont Stakes 2013 Hopefuls (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – Baffert’s runner followed up a place finish in the Risen Star with a 6th in the LA Derby. He finished 2nd on the Derby undercard and beat older allowance rivals to cap the Preakness Day card.

Freedom Child (Malibu Moon): Freaked in the muddy Peter Pan Stakes and looms a pace factor at the very least in the Test of Champions. Split Orb and Revolutionary in a maiden race at the Big A last November.

Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher took advantage of a pace meltdown to land the place in the Kentucky Derby. Dallas Stewart’s late runner is scheduled to work at Churchill next Wed. or Thurs.

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Florida Derby runner-up flopped in the Derby and rebounded with a place finish in the Preakness. The Monmouth Park based colt is targeting the Haskell this summer but is still possible for the Belmont Stakes.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished 10th in the G2 Remsen to end his juvenile campaign. Returned with a game neck victory (wide trip) vs. allowance rivals at Monmouth May 11 and could go next in the Belmont Stakes.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Everything went right in the Kentucky Derby but the wheels came off the cart in the Preakness, ending his 5-race winning streak. He may try to rebound in the Belmont Stakes but there is talk of resting him and waiting for Saratoga.

Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely to win the Arkansas Derby and ended up 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Breezed 4f in :47.50 (3/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee snuck away early and stole the Preakness for Stevens. He shows up for every dance so expect him to complete in the final leg of the Triple Crown series.

Palace Malice (Curlin): Risen Star show finisher ended up a troubled 7th in the LA Derby and rebounded with a 2nd in the Blue Grass. He set fast splits (blinkers on) before fading to 12th in the Kentucky Derby and is now targeting the Belmont. He breezed 4f in :47.49 (2/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner and raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee finished 5th in his SA Derby return and won an allowance race at Churchill on May 10. The Belmont Stakes is a possibility.

Revolutionary (War Pass) – He has been my top ranked 3yo since February and my confidence has not wavered following a solid show finish in the Derby. I thought the Belmont Stakes was perfect for him after his smart Withers score earlier this year and he is bred to run all day on the dam side. He will work twice for the Belmont beginning Sunday, May 26.

Unlimited Budget (Street Sense) – 3-time graded winner lost for the first time after landing the show in the Kentucky Oaks. The Pletcher/Repole filly breezed 4f in :49.07 (14/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.