Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown season comes to a close Saturday at the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes in Belmont Park in New York, and for the 35th-straight year there will be no Triple Crown champion in the sport. Affirmed in 1978 is the last horse to go into the record books.
Orb was the post-time 5/1 favorite at the Kentucky Derby on May 4 and he delivered, rallying on the final turn for a 2 1/2-length victory over long-shot Golden Soul. Orb gave Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first Derby win. Revolutionary, which was favored briefly, finished third.
At the Preakness Stakes two weeks later, Orb was a huge 3/5 favorite but started from Post 1, was pinned inside at the beginning and not a factor in finishing fourth. Oxbow, at 15/1, won the race, giving Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas his record 14th Triple Crown title but first in 13 years.
Orb has opened as the 5/2 favorite for the Belmont Stakes, followed by Revolutionary (5/1) and Oxbow (6/1). The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby and Belmont was Thunder Gulch 18 years ago. The last with the Preakness/Belmont double was eight years ago (Afleet Alex).
A total of 15 horses may run Saturday. There is a filly in the Belmont for the first time since Rags to Riches became the first filly in more than 100 years to win the race in 2007. Rags to Riches was trained by Todd Pletcher as is this year’s filly entrant, Unlimited Budget. She’s 15/1 to win.