Neither could build on his wins in the Triple Crown as Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice pulled off the 13-1 upset.
Orb, the spectacular winner of the Kentucky Derby with a powerful rally in the slop, fizzled out in the Preakness and the Belmont.
He was fourth in the Preakness after being pinned down on the rail for much the race. The bettors were in a forgiving mood, making him the 2-1 favorite in the Belmont.
This time, there was no excuse.
Dropping far back in the early stages of the 1½-mile Belmont, Orb uncorked a big rally around the final turns. The crowd of 47,562 people reacted, expecting another explosive run through the lane.
Orb didn’t have it, flattening out in the drive and settling for third. He couldn’t even reel in the tiring Oxbow who held on for second in the crawling slow 27.58-second final quarter-mile.
“I moved him to the outside like he’s done before,” jockey Joel Rosario said. “In the end, I couldn’t even make it up to second. I felt when he was moving, I was pretty confident like in the Derby. But maybe it was the mile and a half, or maybe he was just tired.”
Oxbow, sixth in the Derby slop, rebounded with a front-running upset at 15-1 in the Preakness.
Oxbow jockey Gary Stevens, knowing he was out of horse when Palace Malice galloped past, marveled at how gamely Oxbow persevered to hold second.
“I’m really proud of him,” Stevens said.
UNDERCARD STAR: The Belmont Stakes undercard got off to a Belmont-like start with Power Broker easily winning the $150,000 Easy Goer.
Considered a possible Belmont entry a few weeks ago, trainer Bob Baffert’s 3-year-old charged early under Rosie Napravnik and held off Micromanage by 3 ¾ lengths with Irsaal third, paying $4.70 to win.
Power Broker was a major factor last season, taking the Front Runner Stakes at Santa Anita before finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.