With the first leg of the 2013 Triple Crown in the books, it's now time for us to turn our attention to the next prestigious race on the schedule, which will be the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Md.
As always, much of the attention will be centered upon whether the winner of the Kentucky Derby has what it takes to win two Triple Crown races in a row, setting up a potential Triple Crown sweep at the Belmont Stakes in June.
Orb, this year's winner at Churchill Downs, entered the Kentucky Derby as the favorite and will obviously head to the Preakness in the same position, especially due to the manner in which he captured the crown in Louisville.
In the Derby, Orb's late surge vaulted him past Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion in the final quarter of the race, and he managed to hold off a hard-charging Golden Soul by two-and-a-half lengths to clinch victory.
A product of Stuart S. Janney, III and Phipps Stable, Orb represented the first Derby entry for Janney, who also now owns the champion of the 139th running of the historic race.
It should not come as any surprise that Orb came away with such a prestigious win, despite his owner's lack of Triple Crown success, given his impressive pedigree.
The son of Malibu Moon, a successful racehorse in his own right, and Lady Liberty, Orb's natural stamina and innate ability to find another gear when the competition is beginning to tire bode well for his chances on any course. Yet it may be that his physical gifts are best suited for 1 1/4-mile events such as the Derby.
With a handful of former high-profile horses in his gene pool, Orb was born with the physical tools to be good, but now he's proven to be the best of the bunch.
At the Preakness, a shorter race, jockey Joel Rosario won't be able to let Orb sit back for as long because he'll run out of room far more quickly, which is important when considering how late he made his move to pass the pack of leaders.
But Orb's natural explosiveness was on display from the last bend on, as he accelerated through the final turn and blew past the competition effortlessly.
Obviously, it's far too soon to accurately predict exactly what the odds for the field will be at the Preakness, but using recent history as a point of reference, Orb should be the overwhelming favorite.
Last year, I'll Have Another captured the title in Louisville, setting himself up to be a 5-2 favorite heading into the Preakness (via OddsShark). However, the difference is I'll Have Another entered the 2012 Kentucky Derby with a 12-1 shot at winning, so he wasn't even close to being one of the consensus contenders.
With that in mind, would it really be that unthinkable for Orb to be pegged as a 2-1 favorite for the Preakness, even on a shorter track?
Simply put, no, because as Orb demonstrated on Saturday in Usain Bolt-like fashion, he didn't need to be the quickest out of the blocks because he can close virtually any gap with a late burst of speed.
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