Preakness 2013: Breaking Down Top Contenders for Second Leg of Triple Crown

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Preakness 2013: Breaking Down Top Contenders for Second Leg of Triple Crown
Rob Carr/Getty Images

After Orb destroyed the field at the Kentucky Derby, he'll undoubtedly be the heavy favorite heading into the 2013 Preakness Stakes.

Orb isn't the only horse capable of winning the second leg of America's Triple Crown, though. 

The Preakness is a mile-and-three-sixteenths race on the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.

Like The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness is run on a dirt track that demands an endurance/speed combination that few horses possess. Here are a few horses that possess the means to conquer such a test.

 

Orb

Video Credit to NBC

The Derby champion left an indelible mark in the minds of horse-racing enthusiasts with a stunning victory at Churchill Downs. 

Jockey Joel Rosario kept Orb near the back of the pack for much of the race and then bid the horse to run full bore down the back stretch. Orb's kick at the end was incredible, and he ended up winning the race comfortably. 

Orb's impeccable pedigree shone through in that moment, and there's no doubt this is a horse capable of making a run at the Triple Crown. 

That said, since the Triple Crown has been in existence there have only been 11 horses to claim victory in all three races. Furthermore, there have only been 22 horses that have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown and then failed to win the third leg.

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The first horse to win the Triple Crown was Sir Barton in 1919. According to Bennett Liebman of the New York Times, the first mention of the name Triple Crown came back in 1923.

So in the past 90-plus years, only 33 horses have ever won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. 

Needless to say, while Orb will certainly be the heavy betting favorite, nobody should be shocked if this horse doesn't pull off a victory. 

 

Goldencents

Widely considered to be one of the favorites to win this year's Derby, Goldencents disappointed with an abysmal 17th-place finish on the muddy track at Churchill Downs.

Don't think for a second that this horse isn't capable of putting on a much better show at the Preakness in two weeks time—provided the weather cooperates, of course. Goldencents simply isn't a mudder.

Leandro Mora, an assistant trainer to Doug O'Neill, spoke with reporters about the disappointing finish at the Derby, via horseracingnation.com:

He came back A-OK. With all the rain and mud, let’s just say the track was not on our side. (Goldencents) never had to face conditions like that in California. I thought (jockey) Kevin (Krigger) did a great job protecting him...he saw it was hopeless, he eased him up the last part of the race. The track condition made a big difference.

Let's not forget why Goldencents was considered to be one of the top horses at the Derby—this horse is seriously fast. According to James Scully of BrisNet.com, Goldencents featured the "top last-race BRIS speed rating (106)" of any horse entered to race at Churchill Downs.

Goldencents will bounce back from a bad experience in the rain to put up a big fight at the Preakness.

 

Departing

Departing didn't participate in the Derby, but the Illinois Derby winner will be fresh for the Preakness. In four starts this year, Departing has three victories to his credit and came in third place at the Louisiana Derby—a race won by Revolutionary.

According to Jennie Rees of the courier-journal.com, Departing and Orb have a long history together—one that started when they were both raised in the same paddock at Claiborne Farm.

Rees also reports Departing will be heading to Pimlico to race in the Preakness, per trainer Al Stall Jr., who is excited about this horse heading into the big race:

We just have our horse on a good schedule. He’s fresh. I wanted to get a work into  him before the Derby, which he did Thursday. We’re very excited how that went and how he came out of it too. All that went into our decision. That’s what made us firm it up today.

Randy Moss of NBC Sports (no, not that Randy Moss) likes Departing's chances against Orb in this upcoming race:

One thing's for sure, the Preakness won't be lacking any storylines, nor will it lack excitement. Departing, Orb, Goldencents and the rest of the horses competing in the race will put on a phenomenal show that you won't want to miss. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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