Orb either delivered on your wildest fantasies or tore your heart out like that guy in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
And if predicting what would happen in the Kentucky Derby weren't hard enough, we're going double-or-nothing and giving you some projections best served with a Black-Eyed Susan, the official beverage of the Preakness Stakes.
Most of the Kentucky Derby horses won't show up in Baltimore for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, but that's OK. For the time being, here are five projections to keep you focused on the Triple Crown.
Abstraction won the Tesio Stakes at Pimlico back on April 27th. It's the local prep for the Preakness Stakes. A horse comes out of this every year and aims to jump way up in class for a chance at glory.
Abstraction won't measure up.
His win in the Tesio, while a nice win for the local connections, falls far short of the standards to win a Grade 1 like the Preakness.
Abstraction has a nice running style but will likely face twice as many horses in the Preakness than he did in the Tesio—most of them more talented.
His trainer, David Carroll, however, is high on him and was impressed enough to offer this kind of praise, via Pimlico.com:
He’s a very improving horse who has always shown talent. Today was a big step forward with the ship and a paceless race. But he showed today he has a big heart. He’s always a horse who trains with talent. He has to go out there and do it. It was a great learning experience for him. He was trapped down inside. He got a lot of dirt. He had to make room and once he did he picked it up nicely and galloped out strong. He’s got talent and hopefully he’ll keep improving.
When Goldencents returns for the Preakness and runs huge, thank Kevin Krigger, his jockey.
When you watch the Derby replay, watch the top of the stretch when Krigger knows he can't win.
I'll wait ...
He basically eases the horse up at the quarter pole and gallops him home, saving hella energy.
Goldencents, as predicted, was on the lead. What wasn't prophesied was how suicidal Palace Malice felt on the front end. Subsequently, Goldencents went in tow and tired considerably. Krigger saw this (or felt it) and didn't press his horse down the lane to finish, what, 11th? 12th?
Exactly. If he's sound, he'll be a force in Baltimore.
Ever since Churchill Downs Inc. gave the Illinois Derby a b-slap by excluding it from the Kentucky Derby Points System, the folks at Hawthorne Race Course turned their once wonderful Derby prep into a Preakness prep race. That's how you take lemons and squeeze them in the eye of your enemy.
Departing won this race in a hand ride, drawing away from the field with ease usually reserved for first-violin players or spelling bee champions.
Assuming he's healthy, Departing will come into the Preakness every bit as talented as many of the horses who ran in Kentucky. His trainer, Al Stall, told Daily Racing Form, “The Preakness is a definite possibility. We’ll watch the Derby and see what’s what.”
After watching the Derby, he's got to feel his colt has the onions to compete in the Preakness.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas will have no problem wheeling back one—or both—of his Derby starters. Of the two—Oxbow and Will Take Charge—Oxbow ran a spirited sixth and may have played his way into the Preakness.
Oxbow was in the mix early and late in the Derby, but he lacked the kick to hit the board.
Two years ago, Shackleford, who set the pace in the Derby before finishing fourth, went on to win the Preakness in a gutsy stretch drive with Animal Kingdom. I say this so as not to discount a horse that finished well back in the Derby.
In the Preakness there will be a maximum of 14 horses—six fewer than in Kentucky—and that clears away a ton of traffic.
Lukas isn't afraid to take a shot, and Oxbow could be the one who threatens Orb and his bid for a Triple Crown.
Orb answered all questions in his emphatic win the in the Kentucky Derby. More impressive was how his win will translate into black-eyed Susans in two week's time.
Orb proved to be the class of his ... um, class. His five-weeks rest from the Florida Derby to the Kentucky Derby will only help in him as he preps for the Preakness. His running style is so versatile that it's hard to imagine him getting beat.
He can close from the clouds, as he did in the Derby (thanks to Palace Malice looking like Evan in Superbad), or he can run closer to the pace as he's done in his previous wins in the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth.
The bigger question will be: Can he win the Triple Crown?