Following Orb's win at the 2013 Kentucky Derby, we'll move from the Run for the Roses to the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans.
Otherwise known as the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the elusive Triple Crown is right around the corner. After a two-week hiatus, Orb and a motivated group of contenders will head to Maryland, where Pimlico Race Course will host the second jewel in the Triple Crown for the 138th time.
Orb is the obvious entry to the Preakness field, looking to be the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to complete a three-race sweep as a three-year old thoroughbred. He'll follow the path of last year's winner—I'll Have Another—who also entered the Preakness Stakes with a Kentucky Derby win.
Some of the field has been confirmed (visit Preakness.com for the latest on the confirmed field), and familiar faces included Oxbow, Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday—three horses looking to improve on disappointing finishes at Churchill Downs.
The Preakness is less than two weeks away, and before the racing field is finalized, we'll take a look at the current layout and see if there's a horse in the field strong enough to challenge Orb at a slightly less distance than the Kentucky Derby.
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Where: Pimlico Race Course; Baltimore, Md.
Post Time: Approximately 6:20 p.m. ET
Length: 1 3/16 miles (Grade I)
2013 Preakness Field (Rumored, as of 5/8/13)
|Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey|
|Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas|
|Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill|
|Will Take Charge||Jon Court||D. Wayne Lukas|
|Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Albert M. Stall Jr.|
|Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert|
|Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss|
|Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.|
|Vyjack||Garrett Gomez||Rudy Rodriguez|
|Normandy Invasion||Javier Castellano||Chad Brown|
|Titletown Five||—||D. Wayne Lukas|
*Field is not yet official. Information on current 2013 Preakness Stakes field courtesy of event's official website. Titletown Five added on Tuesday afternoon, as reported by Daily Racing Forum. USA Today also had relevant Preakness information, including Street Spice as a possible runner.
Breaking Down Current Field
As noted by Brian Zipse of HorseRacingNation.com, things are looking better than ever for Orb.
He'll headline the field, and for good reason, after winning the Kentucky Derby by nearly three lengths in stunning fashion. Rosario guided Orb from the back of the pack all the way to the front after the final turn, proving that stamina and burst are more important than raw speed at Churchill Downs.
With only a 1/16 difference between the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby, the only thing that might be different for Orb on race day on May 18 is the weather. He managed to stay outside and avoid most of the slop on the inside rail, but the Preakness could be an even better condition for the pure speed horses like Goldencents and Oxbow—two early Derby leaders who dropped considerably at the final turn.
Bob Baffert will apparently get a horse back in the Preakness with Govenor Charlie, one of the final few contenders for the Derby before Baffert pulled his horses (Code West, too) out of the Derby for good (h/t ESPN).
Govenor Charlie has only run in a race three times, winning the Sunland Derby in March after taking two maiden races to get its first win.
D. Wayne Lukas will also add another horse to his Preakness Stakes on May 18. Oxbow and Will Take Charge are already apparently in contention for the Preakness crown, but Titletown Five will join those two Lukas-trained horses for a chance to upset Orb's three-race sweep.
Titletown Five finished ninth in the Louisiana Derby.
A notable absence so far from the list is any horse trained by Todd Pletcher, who had an amazing five runners in the 19-horse field at the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Revolutionary was his best finish at No. 3, but none of his other horses managed to factor in the money, and haven't appeared in a Preakness list as of yet.
Goldencents was a horse to watch in the early going at Churchill Downs, in large part because trainer Doug O'Neill was the defending champion with I'll Have Another and jockey Kevin Krigger was looking to be the first African American to win the Derby since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902.
Krigger didn't accomplish that feat and neither did Goldencents after a 17th-place finish, but at 29, he'll have plenty of other chances to jockey a winning horse on the first Saturday in May.
He and O'Neill made headlines this week by joining their horse in Maryland for the Preakness early—a strategy O'Neill used last year before I'll Have Another took jewel two of the three-jewel collection (h/t Baltimore Sun).
Normandy Invasion and Mylute were close finishers at the Derby, and jockey Rosie Napravnik made history again by bettering her record for highest finish by a woman at the Derby (fifth). For Normandy Invasion, there are those (including Larry Zap) who think jockey Javier Castellano went to the inside too early in his push for the crown:
Larry Zap @larryzapeye
I guess...when Normandy Invasion wins the Preakness-people will then realize that Javier moved to soon in #KyDerby-until then. #horseracing2013-5-7 17:10:09
Maybe the horse that will give Orb the most trouble is Departing.
As noted by ESPN, Departing was at the Derby in training but elected to avoid the 139th Run for the Roses, choosing to instead focus on the Preakness. Things are in place for a serious run at the second leg, and Departing is coming off a win at the Illinois Derby in April.
Before that, it finished third at the Louisiana Derby behind Revolutionary (third at the Derby) and Mylute (fifth at the Derby).
Vyjack, who drew a poor post position and never recovered during a next-to-last place ride, and Street Spice, son of 2010 Derby winner Street Sense, are two more horses rumored to be shipping to Maryland in the next few days.
Make no mistake—Orb is the favorite again.
No matter what horses return for the Preakness on May 18, the display of stamina, poise and an excellent ride by jockey Rosario has made Orb the most recent Triple Crown contender. He poses a true threat to the 35-year-old drought, and will have the chance to capture that mantle on the third Saturday in May.
Follow Ethan Grant on Twitter: @DowntownEG