The 145th running of the “Test of a Champion,” also known as the Belmont Stakes, is in the books. The Todd Pletcher trained Palace Malice pulled the upset, and won the Belmont Stakes. No longer will Palace Malice, sired by Curlin, be known as a good work out horse, as he finally put it all together. Palace Malice, coming off a fast pace set by Oxbow and Freedom Child, took command at the head of the stretch, and never looked back. Preakness winner Oxbow, after helping to set up pretty fast fractions, managed to hold on to second, and Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner, could only manage third.
In speaking of Paynter, according to Justin Zayat, the Farm Manager of Zayat Stables, Paynter will be making his long waited return on Friday, June 14th at BetFair Hollywood Park. Paynter is going to be in Race 7, and will be carrying 124 pounds, and will be in post position 2. Post Time will be 4PM, PST, which is 7PM, EST.
Another race on the Belmont under card was the Manhattan Handicap, won by Point of Entry. Point of Entry suffered a condylar fracture, and will be undergoing surgery. I hope he recovers quickly, and will return to the races. Trainer Shug McGaughey said “Entry” will be sidelined till the fall.
Stephanie’s Kitten won the Just A Game. She is owned by Ken Ramsey, and sired by Kitten’s Joy. Forty Tales won the Woody Stephens Sprint.
That was generally what happened on Saturday.
Now, I am going to do a more detailed review, by revealing the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the 145th Belmont Stakes.
Palace Malice: As I said earlier, Palace Malice put it together. He had a reputation for being a good work out horse, but when it came to the races, he did not do well. I am glad that Todd Pletcher, his trainer, took off the blinkers. He was a lot more focused, and relaxed, and that helped him win.
Mike Smith: Oxbow rider Gary Stevens was not the ONLY “old timer” riding in the Triple Crown races. Mike Smith, 47, who is in the Hall of Fame, rode Palace Malice to victory. Last year, Mike Smith just missed winning the Belmont aboard Paynter, but it was great to see one of the “old timers” winning it the next year.
Michelle Beadle: I know in past reviews that I have been hard on NBCSPorts’ Michelle Beadle. Well, in this broadcast, there was a fun little segment where Beadle compared what happens in the infields of the Derby, the Preakness, and at the Belmont. Beadle showed all the partying in the Derby infield, and the rock concert at the Preakness. The segment concluded with Beadle, all alone, in the Belmont infield, sitting on a folding chair. It was a fun segment.
Beadle also interviewed Rosie Napravnik, rider of the filly, Unlimited Budget. Good interview. When asked to make picks, Beadle picked Unlimited Budget and Napravnik, as both were female. Beadle said she was going with the “Girl Power” theme.
The Orb Obsession: During the broadcast on both NBCSports and NBC, I could not believe my ears. Analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey (now retired) went on and on about Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner. All I heard was analysis up the wazoo about why Orb lost the Preakness.
My answer was easy. Orb got beaten. Period. It was terrible that the races on the under card did not get any coverage. All we heard was why Orb didn’t win the Preakness.
Oxbow’s Preakness: What I mean, is that Jerry Bailey just dismissed Oxbow’s performance as a fluke. I though he was so hung up on Orb (who I personally think is a bit overrated.), that I think his bias got the best of him.
Sure Oxbow benefited by being able to control the pace in the Preakness, but the point is that he won. He deserved credit for winning. I was very disappointed in Bailey. I mean, how many times has Bailey been able to “steal” a race in his career? I bet it’s hundreds of times.
No Affirmed & Alydar: I don’t want to call this “ugly,” exactly, but I was very disappointed that the 35th Anniversary of Affirmed and Alydar’s epic Belmont was not covered in the broadcast. Yes, it was technically on Monday, the 10th, but it was a milestone that I thought should have gotten a segment.
My point is that I would have liked to have heard about the horses in the under card races. I know the Belmont was the main event, but I was getting so frustrated hearing about Orb over and over. How much analysis could the analysts do? So annoying.
Well, that is my review of the Belmont Stakes.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/giopontifan