Orb will continue his quest for horse racing’s Triple Crown at the 2013 Preakness Stakes on Saturday, but several contenders in particular pose a threat to jockey Joel Rosario riding to victory again.
Two of the three top threats to knock off Orb ran in the Kentucky Derby, and they should improve their position this time around with a weaker field and shorter track at Pimlico Race Course.
Below is a breakdown of the top threats for Orb and Rosario to be on the lookout for in Baltimore.
One of the Kentucky Derby favorites, it was a disappointment to say the least for Goldencents at Churchill Downs.
With Rick Pitino as a partial owner, last year’s Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill and Kevin Krigger attempting to become the first black jockey to win the Run for the Roses since 1902, everything seemed to be on the speedy colt’s side.
Unfortunately, the horse faded after an ambitious pace set by Palace Malice, and fell all the way to 17th in the end.
The sloppy track conditions didn’t help Goldencents, but assuming the weather is better in Baltimore, there is a good chance that he’ll have a significantly better showing.
Pimlico is a shorter course, one and three-sixteenths of a mile as opposed to the 1.25-mile track in Louisville.
That benefits Goldencents in a big way, and it should lead to the Santa Anita Derby winner to capitalize on his potential far better than he did in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Speaking of historical mounts, Rosie Napravnik ran fifth aboard Mylute at Churchill Downs, eclipsing her previous record finish of ninth place for a female jockey.
The combination of quickness and stamina that Mylute possesses was showcased throughout the 10 furlongs in Louisville, and Napravnik can turn him loose a bit sooner on these grounds.
As talented as Mylute is, it’s surprising that he’s only won two of his previous 10 starts.
However, he proved up to the task in the Kentucky Derby, and finished second to only Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby. Revolutionary was trainer Todd Pletcher’s top horse, and finished third in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Napravnik is certainly eager to get her Preakness run going to say the least, as she expressed on Twitter:
Get your PREAK ON baby I'm coming home ;-) I promise you there is no other jockey who wants to win the #Preakness more than me! MYLUTE— Rosie Napravnik (@RosieNapravnik) May 11, 2013
It seems only a matter of time before Mylute puts it all together for a breakout performance, and Napravnik’s story would make a triumph all the more significant.
Which horse do you like most to beat Orb?
To quickly reference the Louisiana Derby again, the horse that placed third there was Departing. After that momentous effort, Departing won the Grade III Illinois Derby, proving he could hold his own against elite competition.
That got him 20 points in the Kentucky Derby point standings, but he did not run at Churchill Downs.
Brian Hernandez Jr. is one of the most rapidly rising young jockeys available, and rode Rachel Alexandra to victory in the 2009 Preakness.
It’s a bit of a different ordeal aboard Departing in this particular race. Having said that, Hernandez’s success in the saddle with Departing should translate to a strong showing this weekend.
Departing left a strong impression on FocusedFilly.com's Molly Jo Rosen in a recent workout:
Frankly... that was exactly the work I was expecting to see from Departing: easy maintenance, well in hand & on his own. Nice horse.— MollyJoRosen (@MollyJoRosen) May 12, 2013
If Departing is the No. 2 favorite by the time the starting gates open, it would not be a surprise based on his prior record.