By Tim Layden
June 08, 2013
Legendary jockey Mike Smith led Palace Malice to a victory at the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes.
Seth Wenig/AP

Oxbow clung to a dying second. In front of him, Palace Malice dug in and was never challenged in the final quarter mile. It was a race of complete attrition. The final half mile was run in 54.23 seconds, the slowest since at least 1970, a by-product of the early fractions that exhausted the field. Yet even in the absence of a Triple Crown, the Belmont stands tall enough to make such details momentarily irrelevant. "I don't know what would beat this,'' said Campbell after the race, wearing his trademark fedora. "It comes at, you know, what is certainly the twilight of my career, to put it euphemistically.'' To win this race is enough. The search for a super horse waits.

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