Belmont Stakes & Triple Crown recap

by TCI 10 months ago

Jon & Joel tie a bow on the 2013 Triple Crown season – a very productive one for the TCI Boys that culminated with a 13-1 winner of the Belmont Stakes. They discuss Palace Malice, Oxbow, Orb and the rest of the 3-year-olds to watch heading into the second half of the year, and tell you who’s at the top of the class right now in this wide-open crop with the Triple Crown now in the books. Watch it. Comment.

Discussion

  • joe polander

    Hi Joel – I’ve been on vacation this week, and it was kicked off with a big Belmont win for me. I had Palace Malice for the win, also hit the exacta and the trifecta. Nice pick by you in the Belmont. Palace Malice was rested, blinkers off, tactical speed, good dosage/pedigree. Oxbow ran a great race for 2nd. He has that tactical/cruising speed, always gives 100% regardless of the pace, and Gary Stevens couldn’t be any prouder of this colt. Orb was way back throughout most of the race and made a strong bid to get 3rd. The Derby and the Preakness took alot out of Orb. He still has to be considered a major player in the BC Classic if Shug can get him back on track with some rest. The Belmont is such a good betting race because dosage/pedigree, like you have documented does play a key role in the outcome. Palace Malice coming in fresh by skipping the Preakness also added to his appeal for me. For the most part, forwardly placed horses in the Belmont seem to dominate. If you have a horse that has tactical speed and pedigree, like Oxbow and Palice Malice, then you have a legit shot. Golden Soul followed behind Orb with a late bid of his own, however, in the Belmont deep closers for the most part are up against it vs. those that have stamina and tactical speed. Onto the Breeders Cup Challenge Races. It should be an exciting summer and fall campaign. Keep up the good work Joel!

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe! My apologies to both you and JR last week for not responding to your post, as I was having some technical problems in NYC.

      The good news is that I wasn’t having betting problems on Saturday! Great day of racing and obviously things worked out well in the Belmont..glad you got a big piece of it too!

      I thought the NYRA track crew did a terrific job of managing that surface to get it perfect for the race. I was very concerned about it initially and paid close attention to how they were managing it…I really thought it had the potential to be a beach by the end of the day when you consider it was drying out and had several races run over it to chop it up before the main event. JR made a very good point last week about the sandy base as opposed to the more clay-based surface at Churchill, which actually gets firm when sealed…Belmont always has that potential of playing like a tiring beach after it dries out, but that was not the case at all. The track crew did a terrific job to have it fast, and boy was it ever fast. That opening half in 46 was incredible for a marathon style of race, but after the speed had plenty left in the gallop the final half mile, it shows that the track was fast and not laboring at all.

      As for Orb, I really think his pedigree and style are what got him flat late more than him being tired. 3 big races in 5 wks can certainly take its toll, but deep closers that are not bred to see out the marathon distance simply get flat and lose their explosiveness in the stretch like you pointed out, and to me that’s what I saw with Orb more than anything. They were all pretty empty and just galloping/cruising to the wire once they hit the quarter pole…nobody was showing any dynamic turn of foot or finish. I agree that Orb is still a major player in the BC Classic picture, especially with the level of pace in that division right now when you consider Oxbow, Game On Dude, Fort Larned, etc.

      Cannot wait for the big summer races and run towards the Breeders’ Cup now. We will be covering all major divisions and I already have plenty of notes and opinions on many of the key divisions. With Mucho Macho Man and Paynter returning today as possible boosts to the Classic division, my eyes are peeled and I’m ready to go! Cannot wait :)

  • JR

    Hi Joel,

    I hope you check your posts from time to time, as you know I always want to pick your brain. Now, Uncle and I were talking today about Animal Kingdom and his race. I listened to JV on Bloodhorse about how he was handling the track and JV sounded real positive. I know AK was in the UK for a number of weeks training. Joel, we have talked about two turns and changing leads. I also know horses get there feelings hurt when they don’t win, and how trainers will put them in an allowance race so they get their confidence back. Here’s the question. AK in a actual race has always ran two turns and he knows when he has to change leads. In the Queen Anne, its a straight mile. AK probably also knows when it’s race time. Now Joel, I may be giving AK to much credit for thinking, but his performance today from 4th to 5th and fade badly to 11th is surprising. Uncle and I were saying maybe he was looking for that turn, running a race like he had always done in the past and had always trained for, and now running this way put him out of his game. I just hope nothing happened to him.
    Just curious what your thoughts are on this type of race being so different from his others and whether it could have had an affect. As we know training is one thing racing is another.
    Kind Regards,
    JR

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey JR! Just got back from the College World Series in Omaha, where I took a few days to go watch my LSU Tigers play. Was not the result I wanted, as we lost and were sent home, but always a fun time :)

      Back to horse racing! As for Animal Kingdom, I honestly was never optimistic about his chances over that ground at Ascot against the best milers from Europe. It’s just a totally different ball game in those conditions where the ground is softer and deeper. The only Americans I give a shot to over there are the younger turf sprinters (like the ones Wesley Ward brings over) because they create an edge by having gate speed over the Euro group that is trained more so to gallop along early and finish late.

      There are reports that Animal Kingdom was acting stud-ish in the paddock around the filly that was in the field for the Queen Anne. He supposedly got worked up and, we’ll just say, let out his manhood for the world to see before the race. Certainly not the frame of mind you want one to be in before a big race. But aside from that, I just never saw him as a candidate to run well over that ground… and I am not sure the lack of a turn had much to do with it, which is just my opinion, but I can tell you that Graham had him in England training on the straights for the last couple months. It’s my understanding he had become very accustomed to that training style, but you could tell when reading between the lines that they always felt that the ground was something of a concern. I recall seeing one of his Ascot Diaries (which are all on Youtube if you have not seen them) and he was breezing with some workmate that appeared to me was going much better than Animal Kingdom was going in the head-to-head work. So I always questioned how well he would do over a mile on that ground where Americans typically struggle. The grass is just so much deeper and softer there that those rich European pedigrees are bred so much better for those conditions of ground…it’s what they’re good at….Leroidesanimaux was brilliant over the speed courses in America and South America, where the grass is much more shallow and not nearly as boggy. AK, in my opinion, is versatile over fast courses like synthetic, North American turf courses and dirt, but those Euro turf courses are just a different ball game IMO.

      Anyhow, that’s just my take on it. I do not blame the turns and configuration of the mile as much for his defeat. I just think the ground got him.


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