Preakness 2013: Breaking Down Top Long Shots at Pimlico
The entire field has not been set for the 2013 Preakness Stakes just yet, but most of the contenders vying to spoil Orb's Triple Crown bid at Pimlico Race Course have entered.
Even some of those with relatively long odds at the moment have a strong chance to make things all the more interesting on Saturday. Whether it's renowned jockeys, legendary trainers or simply a fit for the track, several long shots in particular stand out as horses that should not be so underestimated.
Below is a breakdown of the best bargains that can be made, based on odds from Mike Watchmaker of the Daily Racing Form.
This thoroughbred wasn't so fortunate at the Kentucky Derby. Despite being listed as a 9-1 shot just before the starting gates opened, Itsmyluckyday finished in a disappointing 15th.
Indications are that the colt is working out well, though, per the Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman, who reported from New Jersey's Monmouth Park:
Nice job by Monmouth Park showing work by Itsmyluckyday, who went half in 47.20 seconds, opening quarter in :23.80. #preakness— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) May 12, 2013
Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. could not have been pleased with the run, and he has significantly upgraded in terms of who will be in the saddle. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez is set to get the mount aboard Itsmyluckyday in the Preakness.
Velazquez had the choice of Orb or Verrazano for the Derby, went with the latter horse and got burned. With Verrazano out of the Preakness with a gash on his left hock, Velazquez has decided to take charge of one of the horses who was thought to have a good chance at winning at Churchill Downs.
There has to be a redemption factor here for both horse and jockey, because Verrazano's gash thwarted Velazquez's bid at the Derby, where the jockey was coming off an injury of his own.
Gary Stevens came out of retirement and rode Oxbow to a respectable sixth-place finish in the first leg of the Triple Crown. Other than Mylute and of course the champion Orb, Oxbow recorded the best Kentucky Derby finish amongst the contenders in the Preakness field.
That was only the second time Stevens had mounted the speedy colt, and the track that was slowed by rainfall unfortunately worked to Oxbow's disadvantage.
The increased reps that Stevens has with Oxbow in workouts should only improve the horse. He expressed excitement about Oxbow last week when trainer D. Wayne Lukas described how he was doing:
Lukas just told me Oxbow on his toesAnd very disruptive this a.m. I like it.— Gary Stevens (@HRTVGary) May 8, 2013
Lukas should have Oxbow prepared even better this time around, too, and better harness the evident energy he possesses.
Governor Charlie (12-1)
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert didn't enter a horse in the Derby, and Governor Charlie figured to be a solid entry in the Run for the Roses.
Which darkhorse would you bet on at the Preakness Stakes?
The luster and potential for a Triple Crown is no longer present for this promising horse, but given his aforementioned triumph, there is reason to believe he can contend in Baltimore. Martin Garcia was aboard for the Sunland Derby, and he will be once again.
Back in 2010, Garcia rode Lookin at Lucky for Baffert and won the Preakness Stakes, so that pairing has a successful history together.
Don't sleep on this horse. Now that he's healthy, Governor Charlie has a chance to do significant damage against a field not quite as strong as the one that competed at the Kentucky Derby.
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