Palace Malice wins the 2013 Belmont Stakes (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
The Sham Stakes kicked off 2013 as the first key race in preparation race for the Triple Crown. Eleven other races around the United States and Canada helped define the star runners for the prestigious Triple Crown series. The Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course served as the final major prep races before the 2013 Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby, being the first jewel of the Triple Crown, was held at the traditional Churchill Downs and Orb won the 1 1/4-mile race impressively and continued on to the Preakness Stakes in hopes of winning the Triple Crown. A disappointing fourth-place finish for Orb transitioned to excitement for Oxbow as he won the Preakness under 50-year-old Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, just a few months out of retirement, for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Concluding the Triple Crown was a win by Palace Malice, a son of classic winner Curlin, in the Belmont Stakes. Experience the spring racing season through the slideshow below.
2013 TRIPLE CROWN SEASON RACES
Racing didn't slow down after Triple Crown season ended. In anticipation of the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park, horses ran in important Breeders' Cup challenge "Win and You're In" races. By winning one of the races in this series, horses earned themselves an all-expenses-paid trip and automatic entry to Breeders' Cup. There were 67 challenge races throughout the year, spanning more than 10 different countries. Take a look at the challenge races throughout the United States, Canada, Dubai, and, of course, the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita in the slideshow below. Make sure to enjoy the joy of victory, with Breeders' Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man.
PATH TO BREEDERS' CUP AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS RACES
Throughout the year, several horses stood out due to their on-track excellence. Over the next few weeks, America's Best Racing will unveil highlight videos of some of racing's top stakes. We kick it off with Wise Dan, who put himself in the driver's seat for 2013 Horse of the Year honors via six graded stakes victories, including a repeat win in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Wise Dan: Titan of the Turf