After winning the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, Orb figures to be the prohibitive favorite in the 2013 Preakness Stakes. Those who chased him in the Run for the Roses don't figure to put up much of a fight, either.
This is horse racing, but even while keeping in mind that anything can happen, none of the current entrants in the second leg of the Triple Crown fared better than sixth at Churchill Downs.
Below is a power ranking of those who have confirmed their intentions to saddle up in Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course on May 18.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment during the Kentucky Derby was Goldencents, who was coming off of an impressive victory in the Santa Anita Derby and was considered one of the odds-on favorites.
That turned out to be a woefully inaccurate assessment, as the typically speedy horse lagged far off the pace and wound up finishing in 17th position.
Kevin Krigger's bid at being the first black jockey in over a century to win the most exciting two minutes in sports fell drastically short, but another shot looms at Pimlico. Chris Korman of the Baltimore Sun has the details:
Goldencents jockey Kevin Krigger is here already. First black Jockey in #Preakness since 1985. Last winner? 1898.— Chris Korman (@ChrisKorman) May 7, 2013
As much of a wild-card as Goldencents has proven to be in light of his terrible run at Churchill Downs, it's hard to predict which horse will show up—the one that won in Santa Anita, or the one who was stymied on a sloppier track in Louisville.
Whatever the case may be, it's a 14-horse field this time around, so Goldencents can't possibly fare worse.
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens is a three-time Kentucky Derby winner and had the most respectable Churchill Downs run out of everyone thus far in the Preakness field aside from Orb.
Which horse do you feel has the best chance of challenging Orb in the Preakness Stakes?
It had been seven years since Stevens had been in the saddle competitively for a Derby before this past Saturday, but he appears to be getting increasingly comfortable.
None of the prior results, though, indicate that Oxbow is bound for anything particularly special in the Triple Crown slate.
It's clear that the three-year-old possesses speed, but a fifth-place showing at the Arkansas Derby and a lack of cash on the stakes in Louisville makes it difficult to label him as the top threat to Orb.
2. Will Take Charge
After an eighth-place showing in the Derby, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is likely looking at long odds to obtain the Triple Crown's second jewel with Will Take Charge.
Jockey Jon Court has never won any of the sport's most coveted three races, and there is not much reason to think he can pull it off this time around given the quality of speedier horses he'll compete against.
Then again, Lukas has won five Preakness titles before, so counting any of his contenders out isn't always the wisest choice.
Steve Haskin of BloodHorse.com suggests that Will Take Charge could run alongside Orb, and should be an underrated bet heading into the Preakness:
Sneaky Preakness horse to watch: Will Take Charge. Just watch what happens to him while moving stride for stride with Orb. Watch overhead.— Steve Haskin (@SteveHaskin) May 7, 2013
The problem with Will Take Charge is stamina and a lack of experience against truly top-flight, Grade I competition. But if he can truly capitalize on his talent, he may very well be in the running for the Woodlawn Vase.
After opening as the morning-line favorite with 7-to-2 odds, Orb's stock began to fluctuate. By the time he took his post position of No. 16 at Churchill Downs, though, he was reinstalled as the favorite.
Even then, it was a bit of a backhanded compliment, because his odds were historically high for a thoroughbred with that distinction, as ESPN Stats & Info points out:
Orb: longest odds of a post-time favorite to win the Derby (5.4-1)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 4, 2013
That didn't matter to Joel Rosario, who rode his 130th winner of the year to his maiden Kentucky Derby victory, which was also the first for trainer Shug McGaughey. It was particularly special for him, being a Lexington native.
The trio of trainer, jockey and horse all had breakthroughs together thanks to Orb's stunning surge down the final stretch, which should bode well once again at the Preakness Stakes.
Odds don't figure to be as long—especially with how hot of a jockey Rosario has been. Don't be surprised if Orb puts himself in position for the first Triple Crown run since 1978 with another triumph in Baltimore.