The world is buzzing after Orb charged from the back to capture the Kentucky Derby this year.
But don't expect Orb's competition to make it easy for the horse to win the 2013 Preakness Stakes.
Orb is widely regarded as the favorite headed into the Preakness this year, and for good reason. But there are also some other contenders who stand a good chance to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, including a horse that disappointed mightily at Churchill Downs.
Here's a look at the early favorites (odds are by Mike Watchmaker of Daily Racing Form).
Obviously there's going to be a lot of money riding on the horse that just won the Kentucky Derby.
It wasn't just the fact that Orb won the Derby this year, it was the way the horse closed, gradually moving up from the back of the pack before leaving the competition in his dust down the final stretch.
Orb has the speed, endurance and drive to win the Preakness Stakes. He was sired by Malibu Moon, who has also sired 2004 Derby champion Declan's Moon; notable horses Life at Ten, Devil May Care, Ask the Moon and Funny Moon; and sprinting star Kauai Katie. His dam, Lady Liberty, was sired by 1990 Derby champion Unbridled.
It's easy to dismiss Goldencents, given the horse's disappointing 17th-place finish at the Derby this year.
But look a little closer and you may forgive Goldencents' flop at Churchill Downs.
First of all, Goldencents has won four of his seven career starts, including taking two of four this year. He won the Santa Anita Derby in March.
But perhaps more importantly, Goldencents actually came into the Derby with concerns that he wouldn't be able to excel at 1 1/4 miles. That's because his pedigree projects him to be more speed based than endurance based.
Goldencents' sire, Into Mischief, raced at only seven furlongs during his three-year-old season. Goldencents' dam, Golden Works, won at only six furlongs. Her sire, Banker's Gold, was more effective as a sprinter as a four-year-old.
Goldencents has shown he can breeze past the competition before. At 1 3/16 miles, expect the horse to have a much better showing and possibly steal Orb's thunder.
Departing has won four of his five career starts, with wins at the Texas Heritage and the Illinois Derby this year. He won by 3 1/2 lengths at the Illinois Derby.
Departing also comes from notable breeder Claiborne Farm, which has produced 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, as well as Eclipse Award winners Blame, Forty Niner, Moccasin and Swale. Swale won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 1984.
The horse hasn't raced since April 20, which is a good thing. Departing should be well-rested for the second leg of the Triple Crown this year.
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