The Preakness Stakes is Saturday, May 18
As the second jewel of horse racing's elusive Triple Crown looms, all eyes will be on Kentucky Derby champion Orb as he attempts to become one step closer to history. Off of his impressive performance in Louisville, he will be the betting favorite in the Preakness but will have several formidable opponents.
Though this year's Preakness Stakes is not expected to draw a full field, it will be a deep, competitive group of three-year-olds assembled in the hopes of dethroning Orb. Several horses who finished well behind him in the Derby are back for Round Two, with the hope that a fast track and a better trip will improve their chances. In addition, there are a handful of new shooters who either opted to sit out the Derby and aim for the Preakness or were forced to miss the Run for the Roses due to minor injury.
Here is a look at some of the prominent horses heading to this weekend's Preakness Stakes and how the race may shake up for them.
Rosie Napravnik and Mylute will try to improve off of 5th in the Kentucky Derby
Preakness Outlook: One must give credit where it is due. Mylute ran a strong race in the Kentucky Derby to finish fifth, a pair of heads behind Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion. Because of that performance, this colt will likely get more attention than he possibly deserves at the windows this Saturday in the Preakness.
He did make up ground well, but he was a horse who moved up significantly over an off track and needs to prove he can run that sort of race over a fast track. In many cases in the Kentucky Derby, a horse's performance looks better than it actually is because all they were doing was picking up the pieces and closing on tired rivals.
Predicted Finish: 5th or worse
Jockey Kevin Krigger and Goldencents
Preakness Outlook: Of all of the horses to run in the Kentucky Derby, Goldencents had one of the more disappointing days. He had no chance from the moment he was unable to get to the front end and handled the off track poorly. With no rain in the forecast in Maryland, an off track seems like a very remote possibility, but he still has to show significant improvement to redeem himself.
This horse does his best running on or near the lead, and while he will not have a field of 18 rivals to contend with as he did in Kentucky, he has some serious front-running threats in the form of Govenor Charlie and Itsmyluckyday. Both colts might simply be faster than him, and he will be hard pressed to have an easy lead if he has to face off with both of them.
Predicted Finish: 4th
Preakness Outlook: Govenor Charlie is the real dark horse in all of this. He was highly regarded going into the Kentucky Derby but was forced to withdraw the week of the race after missing crucial training time due to a bruised hoof. If his scintillating workout at Churchill Downs on May 13 (six furlongs in a sharp 1:10 4/5) was any indication, he is back on track.
Many of the criticisms of this horse going into the Kentucky Derby are applicable here. With only three races, one of which coming against dubious competition, there is no telling how good this colt may or may not be. The one certainty about him is that he is fast and will be a factor early. His trainer, Bob Baffert, has saddled five winners of the Preakness in his esteemed career and if this horse makes it to the gate Saturday, he has a shot.
Predicted Finish: 3rd
Preakness Outlook: Departing has a big advantage heading into the Preakness over his rivals that competed two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby. He is a fresh horse. He has won four of his five career starts, with his lone defeat coming in the Louisiana Derby behind Revolutionary (3rd in the Kentucky Derby) and Mylute (5th). In that effort, he finished ahead of eventual Derby runner-up Golden Soul, so he has proven he can run with the big boys.
His running style is similar to Orb, and he is another contender who will be coming from off the pace. With several sharp front-runners in this field, he should get an honest pace to shoot at and may stand the best chance of denying Orb his chance at greatness. He has been training well and physically may be peaking at the right time.
Predicted Finish: 2nd
Orb will try to repeat in the Preakness
Preakness Outlook: There is no doubt that Orb is the horse to beat here after a resounding victory in the 139th Kentucky Derby. This colt came out of the Kentucky Derby in good order and has been training exceptionally well for this race. His trainer, Shug McGaughey, seems to be growing more confident as the week goes on and was effusive in his praise after Orb worked a half mile at his home base of Belmont Park on Monday.
His running style should be as effective here as it was in the Kentucky Derby. His jockey, Joel Rosario, is at the top of his game right now and gave this horse a textbook perfect ride in the Kentucky Derby. From off the pace, this pair will be flying at the end, and all signs point to another huge effort from this colt.
Predicted Finish: 1st