06/08/2013 7:26PM

Belmont Stakes: Orb's late run just wasn't there

Tom Keyser
“It looked like turning for home he got a little tired,” jockey Joel Rosario said of Orb’s Belmont.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Five weeks after flying through the final furlong to become a Kentucky Derby winner, Orb floundered in the final three-sixteenths of a mile in Saturday's 145th Belmont Stakes, trudging home a well-beaten third behind Palace Malice in the last leg of the Triple Crown at Belmont Park.

Despite having a strong early pace in which to close, Orb couldn't deliver the same scintillating move he made in the Kentucky Derby, and was unable to pass Oxbow, the Preakness winner who was part of the early pace, for second. Orb was beaten five lengths.

Thus, Orb completes a Triple Crown campaign in which he won the Derby, finished fourth in the Preakness, and third in the Belmont.

"I'm disappointed with a third-place finish," Shug McGaughey, the trainer of Orb, said.

"There was some pace in there. He might have got a little farther back than I thought he was going to be. Maybe the grind of it all made him do that. He made a good run around the turn, he just didn't sustain it as well as I'd have liked, and those horses didn't back up to him."

Joel Rosario, who rode Orb throughout the Triple Crown series, had Orb second-to-last in the early stages while Frac Daddy, Freedom Child, and Oxbow were scrimmaging through early fractions of 23.11 seconds for the quarter, 46.66 - the second-fastest half-mile fraction in the 145 runnings of this race behind only Secretariat's 46.20 - and 1:10.95 for six furlongs.

Orb launched a four-wide move beginning at the five-eighths pole, circled horses to get into third around the far turn, but simply ran out of gas in the stretch.

"I thought it was a perfect trip, he was fine, really comfortable, but it looked like turning for home he got a little tired," Rosario said. "A mile-and-a-half, they all get tired. I couldn't even pass [Oxbow] for second. I guess now we have to think about later on."

[BELMONT STAKES: Replay and post-race reactions]

For the connections of Orb, the third-place finish in the Belmont completed a five-week run that began with their first Kentucky Derby win and dreams of a Triple Crown. It ended with disappointment.

"Winning the Kentucky Derby was a huge thrill, losing the Preakness was a pretty big blow," McGaughey said. "Today is today, we finished third. Again, somebody else won."

Stuart Janney III, the co-owner and breeder of Orb along with Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps, said "It's been exhilarating, a bit nerve-wracking. It'll be relaxing from now on for Orb a little bit, for me certainly.

"I think it is disappointing. There were a lot of good horses in this race. He's been going pretty good, he has had a wonderful spring. I think he might not have had quite the kick today that he has had on other occasions."

McGaughey said Orb will get a little freshening and be pointed to the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24.