Kentucky Derby favorite Orb put on a gutsy display to claim victory in the 139th Run for the Roses. But that doesn't mean that he should be crowned as a serious Triple Crown contender just yet. Winning The Preakness will be a tall order.
Winning the Derby was an accomplishment that should be celebrated. Even though he was the favorite, Orb's victory was impressive. He became just the fifth favorite to earn the victory in the last 25 years, and the less-than-ideal track conditions made it a difficult race to predict.
Jockey Joel Rosario ran a good race as he paced his horse well and picked the perfect time to make his move. There's no denying that the horse and jockey lived up to the expectations and deserve the buzz they'll surely receive as Triple Crown contenders.
However, winning the Preakness will be a different task entirely.
First of all, they can't count on the weather to be a factor for two races in a row. The sloppy track conditions can change the complexion of a race entirely and many of the race's favorites were forced to the back of the pack.
With better track conditions, there's a case to be made that the better horses in the field will have the confidence to run a much faster race.
Looking at the complete race standings, favorites such as Verrazano and Goldencents struggled at Churchill Downs but have shown in the past that they could be threats at Pimlico.
|2.||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||4|
|4.||Normandy Invasion||Javier Castellano||5|
|7.||Lines of Battle||Ryan Moore||11|
|8.||Will Take Charge||Jon Court||17|
|9.||Charming Kitten||Edgar Prado||15|
|10.||Giant Finish||Jose L. Espinoza||7|
|12.||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||10|
|13.||Java's War||Julien Leparoux||19|
|14.||Verrazano||John R. Velazquez||14|
|16.||Frac Daddy||Victor Lebron||18|
|19.||Falling Sky||Luis Saez||13|
Another factor that could trip up Orb's chances at the Triple Crown will be the slightly shorter track at the Preakness. Orb's greatest advantage in the 10-furlong race in Kentucky was his endurance and ability to close out strong.
With the 9.5-furlong track in Pimlico, Rosario will be forced to alter his strategy from the one that earned him the Roses here.
Perhaps the greatest obstacle standing between Orb and winning the Preakness is history. Winning both races has proven to be difficult recently. Just two horses have accomplished the feat in the past eight years.
Orb will be hard pressed to surge to victory on the big stage once again at Pimlico.