The winners of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes face off Saturday at the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes, the final and most arduous leg of the Triple Crown.
The the skies above Elmont, N.Y. have cleared up after a day and night of pounding rain and Belmont Park track conditions have been upgraded to "good." Any lingering dampness on the mile-and-a-half course should not be a problem for Orb, who proved unaffected by the mud in Louisville. He enters the race the morning-line favorite with 3-1 odds and one last chance to redeem himself after a fourth-place flop at Pimlico.
Orb will break from post No. 5, an improvement from the inside post he drew last race, which kept him boxed in against the rail.
Oxbow, the Preakness winner with 5-1 odds, will be running from the seventh post. A win for Oxbow would give trainer D. Wayne Lucas his 15th Triple Crown win, surpassing his record 14 set at Pimlico. The colt is the third choice favorite behind Revolutionary, the third-place winner at the Kentucky Derby and one of five horses trainer Todd Pletcher is entering in the race.
Other Pletcher horses include Overanalyze (11th in Derby), longshot Midnight Taboo, Palace Malice (12th in Derby) and Unlimited Budget—the only filly in the field, to be paired, perhaps aptly, with star jockey Rosie Napravnik, the first woman to ride all three legs of the Triple Crown.
Napravnik rode Mylute, who is not competing at Belmont, to fifth and third place finishes at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, respectively. The impressive performances made her the highest-placing female rider in the history of both races.
Unlimited Budget (8-1) would be the fourth filly to win the longest and toughest Triple Crown race nicknamed the Test of Champions. The last to do it was another Pletcher-trained horse: Rags to Riches in 2007.
Fourteen horse are expected to vie for a chunk of the $1 million purse at New York's Belmont Park. It's the largest field for the race since 1996 and could be any horse's for the taking. In the last 15 years, the New York Racing Association points out, all but two Belmont Stakes victories went to horses that had not won either the Preakness or the Kentucky Derby. (Those horses were Afleet Alex in 2005 and Point Given in 2001.)
Midnight Taboo (30-1), Franc Daddy (30-1), Incognito (20-1) and Freedom Child (8-1)—a fellow son of Orb's sire, Malibu Moon—are entering the Triple Crown for the first time.
Post time is 6:36 p.m. ET. NBC airs coverage of the race beginning at 5 p.m ET.