It has been 40 years since the golden age of the 70’s super horses began, starting with the legendary Secretariat in 1973.
We had some greats like Bold Forbes 1976 and Seattle Slew 1977. And who can forget the titanic battles between Affirmed and Alydar in 1978? After that it has all been downhill with very few exceptions.
In the last 34 years, only two (Swale 1984, Thunder Gulch 1995) that have won the Kentucky Derby have gone on to win the third jewel of the Triple Crown – the 1½ mile Belmont Stakes. That’s amazing. During that span 15 winners of the Belmont did not run in the Derby and only Touch Gold (1997) ran in the Preakness.
In those 34 years, 17 that ran in the Derby and were up the track came back to capture the Belmont. Five who won the Preakness came back to take the Belmont (Afleet Alex 2005, Point Given 2001, Tabasco Cat 1994, Hansel 1991 and Risen Star 1988).
Here’s a look at the 2013 Belmont field.
Orb 3-1: Had a big work again. Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said he is on go and Rosario will ride back after a puzzling trip in the Preakness. Has some super talent and could win but as the history reads we will try and beat.
Revolutionary 5-1: Always runs his race. Ran well in the Derby. The price will be right and love the fact he will be fresh after passing the Preakness. Javier Castellano is a perfect fit. Will be one of the main players.
Oxbow 6-1: The wire-to-wire Preakness winner gets Gary Stevens again. That’s the main thing going for him. The 50-year-old Hall of Fame jockey had a spill this past Saturday but tweeted he is fine and for all to remember he had a spill just six days before he won with Winning Colors in 1988. Hey, Gary, you were not 50 back in ’88. The last 34 years says we will be passing him on top for the win.
Freedom Child 8-1: Did not run in either of the first two Triple Crown races. His last outing was a resounding 13-length win in the slop going wire to wire in the Peter Pan at Belmont. Finished second behind Orb and in front of Revolutionary last year in a maiden race going a mile. He fits into our strategy but we will pass on the front end.
Golden Soul 10-1: Liked this colt in the Derby and ran a good second at 34-1. Took time off after his Derby run. Comes in fresh and his trainer says he is ready with Robby Albarado giving him another perfect ride. We will be using.
Unlimited Budget 10-1: The filly in this race is ridden by another lady – Rosie Napravnik. She was a 90% go as GT went to press. Had a very good work last Sunday so trainer Todd Pletcher, who has the prospect of five runners in here, would like to see this very consistent girl run and repeat the winning performance of Rags to Riches in 2007. Rags did not run in the Derby or the Preakness. The media will be hoping she runs. Will use but not on top as she is no Rags.
Overanalyze 15-1: This one is very interesting to me. He ran up the track in the Derby, took time off and missed the Preakness, and gets Pletcher’s main rider in JR Velazquez. The price is right, he is fresh, and he owns a win at Belmont with JR when winning the Futurity last year. Even more interesting, he is on a win-every-other-race pattern and this is his win race. All systems go at a big price with JR.
Palace Malice 15-1: Pletcher put the blinkers on for the Derby and he freaked, running away setting suicide fractions. He quit bad and now the blinkers come off. This one sometimes has some run, but don’t think Mike Smith can get this colt home on top. Has only one win – a 6½ furlong maiden race last August at Saratoga. We will be passing.
Vyjack 20-1: This gelding just looks over his head, having never really beaten any top horses. We will be looking to others, but does fit our 34-year system. Still, we will be passing.
Will Take Charge 20-1: The other Lukas runner in here as he beds down with Oxbow. This colt gets John Court back in the irons. They won the Rebel, getting up to beat Oxbow by a head. Was buried in the Derby and Preakness. We don’t see a turnaround. Pass!
Giant Finish 30-1: Adds some early speed to the race even though he did not show it when splitting the field in the Derby. His only win came when breaking his maiden at the Fairgrounds last year. We will be passing.
Incognito 30-1: Could not handle the slop in the Peter Pan. Just doesn’t look fast or good enough to beat these – even though he is a new shooter. We will pass!
Midnight Taboo 30-1: Just another Pletcher runner who may or may not run. Has hit the board in his three lifetime starts with a win and two seconds but loses JR and any support we may have had. Pass.
Always in a Tiz 50-1: Broke his maiden last year at Saratoga when beating Revolutionary, but has not won since. Was crushed in the Wood back in April. Should be looking for an easier spot. Pass.
The Saber line: Overanalyze 15-1, Revolutionary 5-1, Orb 3-1.
If any of our readers are looking for some in-depth coverage of the race, I will be doing a podcast with GT’s Marco D’Angelo airing on YouTube and Pregame.com this Friday.
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].