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2013 Travers: A Triple Crown rematch, minus one

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Derby winner Orb and Belmont winner Palace Malice will square off in the Travers. Preakness winner Oxbow will watch from the sidelines.

Rob Carr

The Daily Racing Form reports that Preakness winner Oxbow is done for the season and may be retired due to an ankle injury suffered during the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. His defection from the Travers leaves the midsummer Derby as a clash between Derby winner Orb and Belmont winner Palace Malice. The Travers will be Orb's first race since the Belmont.

Expected to join the Triple Crown duo at Saratoga are runaway Haskell winner Verrazano and Will Take Charge, who put in a good run in the Jim Dandy to finish second to Palace Malice after a disastrous Triple Crown series. Given the strength of those four runners, especially the recent form of Palace Malice and Verrazano, I wouldn't expect any of the other horses to round out the field to receive very much attention.

Of the top four running in the Travers, Orb probably has the most question marks surrounding him. He was brilliant in the Derby but was disappointing in both the Preakness and the Belmont. It's certainly possible this colt peaked on the first Saturday in May, or was significantly aided by the track conditions at Churchill that afternoon. Most likely, it's a little of both. We'll see how the public treats him at the windows this weekend but, if I'm setting my own personal line, Orb is behind Verrazano and Palace Malice at the moment.

The Travers post position draw will take place on Wednesday, August 21st.