Early odds for the 2013 Preakness Stakes aren’t all that surprising. With the race closing in quickly, Kentucky Derby winner Orb has a firm hold of the front runner status as he embarks on the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Should the Shug McGaughey-trained colt take down the Preakness on May 18, Orb will be one win away from securing the first successful Triple Crown bid since 1978—something many are now considering a strong possibility.
The shorter track at Pimlico Race Course will make things interesting, though. The 1 3/16-mile track is the shortest of the Triple Crown races, and some of the field’s fastest sprinters may find the length much more conducive to setting the pace and leading the pack from start to finish.
Among those sprinters is Goldencents, who, despite being one of the pre-race favorites at Churchill Downs, turned in a 17th-place finish on the sloppy track. If the weather holds up in Baltimore leading up to the Preakness, Goldencents may have a chance at redemption and an opportunity to derail Orb’s Triple Crown bid.
While the Preakness boasts a smaller field (14 horses) than the Derby, there will be several returning challengers turning out at Pimlico, including Mylute, Itsmyluckyday and Will Take Charge. All three competed on Churchill Downs’ 1 1/4-mile track on May 4.
Post positions will be announced on May 15, and betting odds are sure to vary after that announcement. Let’s take a last-minute look at the latest odds for each horse in the field before starting positions are set.
*Odds acquired from DRF.com.
|Orb||Stuart Janney||ShugMcGaughey||Joel Rosario||1-1|
|Oxbow||Calumet Farm||D. Wayne Lukas||Gary Stevens||12-1|
|Will Take Charge||Willis D. Horton||D. Wayne Lukas||Mike Smith||10-1|
|Goldencents||W.C. Racing||Doug O’Neill||Kevin Krigger||6-1|
|Departing||Claiborne Farm||Albert M. Stall, Jr.||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||8-1|
|Govenor Charlie||Michael E.Pegram||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||12-1|
|Mylute||GoldMark Farm||Tom Amoss||Rosie Napravnik||8-1|
|Itsmyluckyday||Trilogy Stable||Eddie Plesa Jr.||John Velazquez||10-1|
|Titletown Five||Hornug/Martin etal||D. Wayne Lukas||Julien Leparoux||20-1|
Which horse has the best chance of upsetting Orb on May 18?
Orb wasn’t the fastest sprinter in the Derby field, but the longer length of the track gave the colt a chance to emerge from the back of the pack down the stretch to secure the victory.
Fortunately for Goldencents, Pimlico’s track is significantly shorter (at least from a racing perspective), and the Doug O’Neill-trained horse will be able to take full advantage of it with one of the fastest sprinting speeds in the field.
According to DRF.com’s Beyer ratings, only Verrazano matches Goldencents’ fastest speed, and the former won’t be racing at the Preakness. With a good draw for post position and a fast break from the gates, the colt will have an opportunity to take a pace-setting position from the onset and use his speed and endurance to close out ahead of the group.
Itsmyluckyday wasn’t so lucky at Churchill Downs. Despite being a popular long shot to take home the Garland of Roses, the colt faded to a 15th-place finish on the course’s sloppy track.
But like Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday was one of the fastest sprinters in the field on May 4. The same should hold true on May 18 at Pimlico, and a strong finish wouldn’t be surprising.
The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt has a rare mix of speed, burst and endurance that will make him a dangerous challenger at the Preakness. With the ability to run just off the pace or out ahead of the group, post position shouldn’t matter all that much for Itsmyluckyday.
At 10-1, now may be a good time to wager on Plesa’s best three-year-old. When post positions are announced, Itsmyluckyday could quickly become a pre-race favorite to win the Black-Eyed Susan Blanket.