Orb Draws Post 5 as Belmont Favorite at 3-1
Orb , winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), drew post position 5 and was installed the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the Triple Crown classic to be run at Belmont Park June 8.
Oxbow , who won the May 18 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in which Orb finished fourth, received post 7 during the June 5 draw. He was made the 5-1 third choice by New York Racing Association oddsmaker Eric Donovan.
A field of 14 was entered for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, which is slated as race 11 of 13 with an approximate post time of 6:36 p.m. EDT. NBC coverage is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. EDT, preceded by a 3-5 p.m. broadcast on NBC Sports Network and followed by a 7-7:30 p.m. post-race show.
The weather.com forecast for Belmont Stakes day calls for a 60% chance of showers with south/southeast winds at 13 miles per hour. The high temperature is expected to be around 72, with the low in the low 60s.
Orb is a Malibu Moon colt trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey for Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable. He will be piloted by regular rider Joel Rosario, who was aboard for Orb's victory in the Kentucky Derby May 4 as well as in the Preakness.
"I just didn't want to get down on the inside where maybe we might get stuck around the first turn," McGaughey said of the post position for Orb, who drew the 1 hole in the Preakness. "I like the middle; that's about as good as you can get.
"I think, on paper, there is going to be a bit of a pace, so he'll be able to kind of drop out of it and dictate what he wants to do. If there isn't, and they're going in :49 and some change, then he can be laying up there."
Oxbow, a son of Awesome Again also trained by a Hall of Fame horseman, D. Wayne Lukas, will have Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens in the irons again.
"At a mile and a half with that long run and the sweeping turns, we have a tendency to overanalyze the post-position draw," Lukas said. "I'm more concerned about who is around me and what they're going to do than what gate we got."
Mike Repole's Unlimited Budget, the lone filly in the field and third-place finisher in the May 3 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), drew post 13 under jockey Rosie Napravnik. She receives a five-pound weight allowance from the males, bearing 121 pounds compared to their 126. The daughter of Street Sense is 8-1 on the morning line for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the 2007 Belmont with the filly Rags to Riches.
Pletcher will saddle four other starters in the Belmont: WinStar Farm's Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Revolutionary , third in the Kentucky Derby and 9-2 second choice on the Belmont morning line; Repole's Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner Overanalyze (12-1), 11th in the Run for the Roses; Dogwood Stables' Palace Malice (15-1), 12th in the Derby; and Repole's maiden winner Midnight Taboo (30-1).
Revolutionary will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 9, while Overanalyze gets the services of John Velazquez from the 3 hole. Palace Malice's rider from post 12 is Hall of Fame reinsman Mike Smith, while Midnight Taboo will partner with Garrett Gomez from post 8.
Of the outside posts for Unlimited Budget and Palace Malice, Pletcher said: "If everything goes as expected, it looks like they'll have some speed horses inside of them that they'll be able to track as they work their way over and find a place to drop over. Unlimited Budget in particular is a horse who is comfortable racing on the outside."
Charles Fipke's homebred Golden Soul, a son of Perfect Soul who finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Orb in the Derby, drew the far outside post 14 as a 10-1 choice for trainer Dallas Stewart under Robby Albarado.
"He's a colt that handles everything that's thrown of him," Stewart said. "We'll just see what happens. Hopefully he'll be able to save some ground somehow, some way. It's a bit of a challenge from post 14, but he's the type of horse that has met a lot of challenges."
Freedom Child , 13 1/4-length winner of the May 11 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) on a sloppy Belmont main track, drew post 2 and will be ridden by Luis Saez for trainer Tom Albertrani and owners West Point Thoroughbreds and St. Elias Stable. The Malibu Moon colt also finished second to Orb earlier in their careers.
"I think we were hoping to get a little farther torward the middle, but we dealt with post 1 in the Peter Pan, so we'll just deal with post 2 in the Belmont," Albertrani said. "I don't know if he's the kind of horse that wants to be behind horses, because he's got free-running style. He'll probably want to find himself clear into the first turn."
Also starting in the Belmont are a trio of Derby also-rans: 30-1 Giant Finish, 10th for Sunrise Stables and partners and trainer Anthony Dutrow; 30-1 Frac Daddy, 16th for Magic City Thoroughbreds and trainer Ken McPeek; and 20-1 Vyjack, 18th for Pick Six Racing and trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
According to McPeek, Frac Daddy will definitely factor into a pace scenario. "We're sending from the inside, absolutely," he said. "He needs to be near the front."
Godolphin's Incognito, (20-1, post 6), fifth last time out in the Peter Pan for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and Willis Horton's Will Take Charge (20-1, post 10), seventh in the Preakness for Lukas, complete the field.
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