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Unlimited Freedom in 2013 Belmont

Oxbow Orb Battle Is All Hype

Orb at BelmontSaturday, June 8th marks the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes, a race that’s full of history, upsets and legends. This Belmont Stakes will be no different as a field of 14 will battle it out for the last leg of the Triple Crown. Of course, this year marks another disappointing watch for a Triple Crown winner after Preakness winner, Oxbow, blocked Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner from achieving this goal. Whereas many are looking for a head-to-head competition between these two horses, I prefer to look elsewhere.

2013 Belmont Stakes- Speed Versus Stamina

RevolutionarySet at 1 ½ miles, the Belmont Stakes is most definitely a test of endurance for these 3 year olds, none of which have ever gone this distance before. Stamina will play a key role in who will get to the finish line first, but speed is definitely a factor and I believe that this year’s contenders will come from the front end. Saturday’s forecast is calling for rain on top of the rain that has already made the track mud slop, so some of what we’ve seen in the Kentucky Derby should play into the Belmont this weekend. That means that horses like Orb, Golden Soul and Revolutionary have a chance at a repeat performance and should not be overlooked. I believe Orb will stay true to form and will definitely make a late run. Revolutionary has the potential, but without “Bo-rail” guiding him, I’m concerned that he won’t finish as well as he did in the Derby. As far as Golden Soul… well, I just don’t see it happening unless he gets a perfect trip and the speed horses burn themselves out.

Rosie and Unlimited Budget

Rosie NapravnikSo let’s get past this “girl on the girl” angle and get down to brass tacks. Yep, they are both girls and both of them are top notch in their own rights amid a field of “boys”. I know dad (Mike Sr.) is opposed to a filly in the Belmont and he has some pretty good reasons for it, but let’s look at it from another point of view. Rosie Napravnik is on fire right now! I don’t care if she is an alien from Neptune; she has put up an extraordinary record this year and continues to impress me. Unlimited BudgetUnlimited Budget has some smoking fast times that make some of these other entries look sad and size-wise she doesn’t even look like a filly! That’s one super-toned filly, I don’t care who you are! This horse is going to be there at the finish. Pletcher has teamed up one tough-to-beat combo with these two- all “girl” references aside.

 

Freedom Child Runnin’ Wild

Freedom Child in Peter PanBut better than my admiration for Unlimited Budget, is my fascination with Freedom Child. Some of you might remember my write-up on this horse before the Peter Pan Stakes. In my opinion, amid all of the Orb hype, many people took the Peter Pan Stakes lightly and are just now coming to realize that Freedom Child is a true contender. Plagued by an ugly start in the Wood Memorial and declared a non-starter because of it, Freedom Child missed his opportunity at the Derby, but more than made up for it in his 13 ¼ length victory in the Peter Pan. You might recall that the track was a bit sloppy that day, too.

Freedom Child My only concern for this horse is his post position and the early duel for the lead. Provided Mike Smith and Palace Malice don’t pull another derby repeat, and I believe they will not, Freedom Child and Midnight Taboo will battle for that spot and I believe that Midnight Taboo will fade. Don’t get me wrong- if there is going to be a major upset in the Belmont, Midnight Taboo is the one to look at, but honestly, Freedom Child has too much going for him to falter to this horse. Breaking from the 2 slot might be an issue as far as getting him straight to the lead, but I believe Luis Saez will get him where he needs to be and then the race is on.

I believe at the end of the race, you will see Freedom Child as the victor with Unlimited Budget, Orb and possibly Will Take Charge and Revolutionary not far behind.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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