Kentucky Derby 2013: Orb Will Use Derby Momentum to Win Preakness Stakes
Orb stormed to victory in the Kentucky Derby to capture the first leg of the Triple Crown. He's now two victories away from becoming the first horse since 1978 to achieve the elusive goal. Expect him to move one step closer with a Preakness Stakes triumph.
Give a lot of credit to Joel Rosario. The veteran jockey recognized the unsustainable early pace and didn't force Orb to chase. He sat back in the field, waited for the front-runners to tire out and then asked Orb for a late kick.
The talented colt delivered with a tremendous run down the homestretch, easily cruising past the other contenders in front of the iconic Churchill Downs twin spires. It was a perfect race from both horse and jockey leading to a well-deserved win.
As impressive as Orb's victory was last weekend, Randy Moss of NBC Sports provided an even deeper look at the victory by using horse racing's version of advanced statistics.
And using Trakus ft/sec + Beyer beaten lengths values, Orb beats Mylute by 6 lengths, Normandy by 8.5, GoldenSoul 10 and Revolutionary 11.— Randy Moss (@randy_moss_TV) May 5, 2013
In other words, all things being equal––total distance run being the major difference––Orb completely crushed the field. So his victory, which officially amounted to less than three lengths, could have amounted to more than double that.
How will Orb fare in the rest of the Triple Crown?
That's the sign of a horse with a legitimate chance of winning the Triple Crown. The fact he was able to make up so much ground with relative ease makes him dangerous under any racing circumstances. And it helps that he's peaking at the right time.
Orb started his career with three straight finishes of third or worse. Not the type of results typical of a Triple Crown candidate. He finally broke his maiden last November and has been unstoppable since, putting to rest any lingering questions about his early struggles.
Since the Preakness is a similar distance to the derby and will feature a less crowded field, there's truly nothing standing in Orb's way. He's established himself as the top three-year-old in the country and the Preakness doesn't pose any significant hurdles.
It's not the first time he will be running on short rest, either. In fact, when he broke his maiden back in November at Aqueduct, it came just two weeks after his previous race. So the short turnaround shouldn't be an issue, at least not for the second leg.
The Belmont Stakes would be a different story because of the added distance at the back end of the Triple Crown journey. But trainer Shug McGaughey will cross that bridge when it comes. Right now, the focus is on the Preakness.
Another steady ride from Rosario paired with being the most talented horse in the field should lead to another Orb victory.
It would also give horse racing fans something to cheer for heading into the Belmont Stakes, which happens to take place at Orb's home base, Belmont Park.
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