As expected, Frac Daddy and Freedom Child set sharp fractions of :23 for the first quarter mile and :46.66 for the first half mile, battling for the lead. Frac Daddy won out and held the lead until Oxbow challenged him on the backstretch with Freedom Child trying to hold onto his second-place position. Patiently sitting in fourth was Palace Malice, who unleashed a powerful run in the long stretch, taking the lead with a few hundred yards to go. Once passed, Oxbow was unable to catch Palace Malice and finished 3 ¼ lengths behind. Orb, going off as the 2-1 favorite, was as far back as 13th at the start, rallied around the far turn and closed sharply in the stretch, but could not reach Oxbow and finished 1 ¾ lengths back in third. Incognito closed late to finish fourth.
In his last start, Palace Malice, wearing blinkers for the first time, set a fast pace in the Kentucky Derby only to finish 12th. The blinkers came off for the Belmont and a more mature colt emerged.
“The horse had trained really impressively, and we just felt if we could get him into that rhythm, get him relaxed, it wouldn't necessarily matter if he was on the lead, fourth, fifth,” said Pletcher. “Wherever he was, it wouldn't matter as long as Mike [Smith] had him in that big gallop he had.”
Although this year’s Triple Crown series was won by three different horses, trainers, jockeys, and owners, the Belmont win continued to hold the spotlight on the sport’s old-school stables with Cot Campbell and his Dogwood Stables aglow Saturday. Campbell was the first to introduce the idea of a syndicate or limited partnership in the ownership of a racehorse and started Dogwood Stable in 1973. The Belmont win gave the farm its second Classic victory, having won the Preakness in 1990 with Summer Squall.
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