Orb has captured the most headlines for the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, but there will be other horses looking to knock the Kentucky Derby champion off his perch at post time in Baltimore.
It certainly hasn't affected the odds for the race, though, largely because Orb has breezed through practice rounds at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland and has looked every bit like the same horse that won the Derby in stunning fashion on May 4.
Right now, Orb is dominating the oddsmakers watch lists prior to Wednesday's post draw at Pimlico.
Before we find out how the 14-horse field shakes out over the weekend, here's a look at the current odds for the horses confirmed to be in the field and a few key storylines leading up to the second leg of the elusive Triple Crown.
As we saw with the race at Churchill Downs, anything can happen. Take a look at the field now so you can help stay ahead of the curve when it comes to placing your bets for this field on Saturday afternoon.
|Orb ||Joel Rosario||Claude "Shug" McGaughey||1-1|
|Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||12-1|
|Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||10-1|
|Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||6-1|
|Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Albert M. Stall Jr.||8-1|
|Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||12-1|
|Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||8-1|
|Itsmyluckyday||John Velasquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.||10-1|
|Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux||D. Wayne Lukas||20-1|
*Odds via DRF.com, and are watchmaker—not official—odds.
Storylines to Watch Before Postings
Orb Tries to Keep Crown in Tact
The biggest story on Saturday at the Preakness, no matter how you spin it, will be about Kentucky Derby winner Orb's pursuit of the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Trainer Shug McGaughey got his first Derby winner with odds-on favorite Orb at Churchill Downs, and there's little doubt that Orb will be a 1-1 favorite (or even lower) when post time hits on Saturday afternoon.
So far, Orb has done nothing to assert that his Derby performance was anything less than telling of what he might do at the Preakness.
Running four furlongs on Monday, Orb breezed around the Pimlico track, prompting Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde (and others) to suggest that Orb is the runaway favorite for this second leg of the Crown:
Orb worked half-mile at Belmont today in :47.18. Shug calls work, "Nothing short of magnificent." Preakness competitors, you've been warned.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) May 13, 2013
With only 11 Triple Crown winners in the history of the three-race distinction, Orb will look to become the 12th with another step toward the Belmont Stakes. Win, and the Crown stays in tact. Lose, and the Crown goes away forever.
The stakes have never been higher for Orb or Joel Rosario.
Goldencents Looking to Rebound
After all the talk about Rick Pitino, Goldencents, jockey Kevin Krigger and the rest of the team for this horse, a disappointing 17th-place finish at the Derby did not make 2012 Derby winner Doug O'Neill and his team happy.
O'Neill brought Goldencents to Pimlico extremely early, and Krigger soon followed suit (h/t ESPN). O'Neill did the same thing with 2012 Derby winner I'll Have Another and it worked to the tune of a Preakness win and a shot at the Belmont Stakes.
As noted by RacingwithBruno on Twitter, Goldencents had a good gallop at the track on Tuesday morning:
Goldencents gallops mile + going last 7f in 135.2 with good acceleration turns, Krigger took longer hold, relaxed @preaknessstakes— Racingwithbruno (@DeJulio) May 14, 2013
We'll see if Goldencents can capture the same kind of magic that I'll Have Another did at the track in 2012. O'Neill is clearly taking superstition into account with his handling of Goldencents at Pimlico, but Krigger will have to find a way to avoid the early push and know when to overextend his horse to avoid another low finish.
New Horses Riding at Pimlico
While familiar faces will abound at the track on Saturday, several horses will be making their debut (to the casual fan, anyway) at the 2013 Preakness Stakes.
Among those horses confirmed for that honor now are Govenor Charlie, giving Bob Baffert a horse in this race after not having one in the Derby, Departing, set to be jockeyed by Brian Hernandez Jr. and trained by Albert M. Stall Jr. and Titletown Five, a horse named after the Green Bay Packers' five championships.
These horses aren't household names like Orb, but they shouldn't be counted out of the mix on Saturday.
Which horse will win the Preakness Stakes?
For starters, the field will be condensed at Pimlico, down from a 20-horse field to a 14-horse one. That leaves more room for error, more room to avoid a major collapse on the outside and an overall wide-open feel that the Kentucky Derby just doesn't provide.
The Derby gets the Triple Crown horse off to the right start, but the Preakness is the proving ground that separates a lucky win at Churchill Downs from a horse that will live in lore forever.
The addition of these horses will test Orb in that regard, specifically because they will be fresh and without the stress of the Derby on their bones. Additionally, Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas will be two of the three trainers involved, and each are noted winners in big races like these.
It should be yet another exciting chapter in the horse racing book. Don't miss the Preakness Stakes posting draw on Wednesday, because it could help determine your champion on Saturday.
Follow Ethan Grant on Twitter: