Palace Malice beat out Orb and Oxbow to win the 2013 Belmont Stakes on Saturday. The win was surprising for the colt, who skilled the Preakness after finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby.
Malice’s win gave Todd Pletcher his second Belmont winner in six years and also vindicated his support of the three-year-old colt, who came into the final leg of the celebrated Triple Crown with just one win under his belt.
The victory was also the second for the colt’s jockey, Mike Smith, a Hall of Fame rider who guided Drosselmeyer to the win in 2010. Smith stated of Palace Malice, “The whole time he was just enjoying the trip. He was full of run turning for home.”
The Belmont Stakes is the gem on top of the Triple Crown achievement. But the crown hasn’t been claimed since Affirmed galloped to victory in 1978.
After Palace Malice crossed the line, Preakness winner Oxbow took second three and a quarter lengths back, while Derby winner Orb was in third. Smith spoke afterward about the difference between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. He stated, “Blinkers off, honestly.”
While at the Triple Crown opener, the colt had blinders on. While he set the pace in the Derby, he fell to 12th place in the end. But this time, Smith stated, “He was just enjoying the trip, sucking all the air in.” He added that the race went just as planned, saying, “Today was our day.”
Trainer Pletcher spoke from the winner’s circle, calling the Belmont Stakes victory, “Huge.” He went on to add, “We always felt like he had a big one in him. He needed to put it all together. We were quietly confident coming in.”
Along with Palace Malice, Pletcher had a record four other entries in today’s Belmont Stakes. With those odds, it wasn’t surprising to see him standing in the winner’s circle when the race was over.
Did your favorite horse win the 2013 Belmont Stakes?