While there were plenty of questions entering the Kentucky Derby, most of them were answered thanks to Orb's dominant performance. There is no question that Orb was the best horse in that field, and while there are no guarantees in horse racing, it seems quite likely that Orb will capture the Preakness Stakes as well.
According to Bovada, Orb is a hefty favorite at 1-1, so it won't be easy to make money on him with win bets. One way to cash in on the Preakness, however, is to find another horse to put in an exacta with Orb. Even with Orb paying even money, there is plenty to be made if the proper place horse is chosen.
In addition to the confirmed Preakness field, here are three horses with the best chance to finish behind Orb in Saturday's big race.
Confirmed Preakness Entries
|Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey|
|Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas|
|Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas|
|Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill|
|Departing||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||Albert M. Stall, Jr.|
|Governor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert|
|Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss|
|Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa, Jr.|
|Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux||D. Wayne Lukas|
*Preakness field courtesy of Preakness.com
Will Take Charge
If not for bad luck down the stretch at the Kentucky Derby, Will Take Charge could very well be going for the second leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday.
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt made a big move late in the Derby, but he ran into traffic while Orb was able to find open air. Had Will Take Charge gotten a better trip, perhaps he and Orb would have done battle in the final moments of the race rather than Orb simply running away with it.
With a much smaller field running in the Preakness, the race should play out much fairer. If Will Take Charge is as good as his late run in the Kentucky Derby suggests, he is a great bet to finish second to Orb.
In fact, it may be worth boxing that exacta in case Will Take Charge has enough to overtake the Derby winner. In addition to his overall talent, Will Take Charge will have the benefit for being guided by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, according to Daily Racing Form.
Prior to finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby, Will Take Charge won two of his previous three races at Oaklawn Park. He has finished in the top two in four of his eight career races, so he is used to running near the front.
There was a lot to like about Will Take Charge's Kentucky Derby run, and it's enough to make a speculative Preakness pick.
Of the three non-Kentucky Derby horses in the field, Departing certainly appears to be the most talented. He isn't very experienced compared to his opponents as he has only run in five races, but he has won four of them and is fresh as he hasn't started since winning the Illinois Derby on April 20. Departing is one of the few unknowns in this race and that could certainly work to his advantage.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Departing is his path to the Preakness. He and Orb are actually quite similar. In fact, Departing and Orb grew up on the same farm together, according to Chris Korman of The Baltimore Sun.
Orb and Departing were two of eight young horses who roamed the fields together at Claiborne Farm outside of Lexington, Ky., according to Korman. The odds of them meeting on the track with a Triple Crown race on the line are seemingly astronomical.
That is precisely what will happen, though, and Departing could potentially be Orb's biggest competition.
Which horse is most likely to finish second to Orb in the Preakness?
Will Take Charge seems like a more logical pick since he showed his mettle in the Kentucky Derby and he should pay more than Departing as well, but there is plenty to like about Orb's "childhood friend."
There was a lot of hype surrounding Itsmyluckyday heading into the Kentucky Derby, but he was unable to live up to it. After starting strong, he faded and ended up finishing 15th.
Itsmyluckyday is extremely experienced, though, as he has run 11 times and finished in the money in eight of those races. With that in mind, he is a solid bet to perform well in the Preakness and perhaps sneak out a second-place effort behind Orb.
Despite his poor Kentucky Derby showing, Itsmyluckyday has reportedly looked solid during his preparation for the Preakness. Things obviously change when other horses are on the track, but Itsmyluckyday has posted some favorable splits, according to the Preakness Stakes' official Twitter feed.
Itsmyluckyday will also be led by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who is still searching for the final jewel in his career Triple Crown. Velazquez has already won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, but the Preakness has eluded him.
This may not be the horse to do it for him, but he should be in contention nonetheless. Provided Itsmyluckyday doesn't get lured into an unsustainable pace early on, he'll be among the horses with a chance to challenge Orb late.
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