Post positions have been given out for the upcoming 2013 Preakness Stakes, and for many horses, the gates drawn were far from what they would consider ideal.
In a small field of nine horses and over a shorter track than the recent Kentucky Derby, getting away to a good start can be fundamental to any success that's to be found on the Pimlico Race Course—especially for those that are being touted as potential race winners on the day.
Yet whilst the posts drawn by several horses might hinder their Preakness chances, for many, the tough positions won't slow them down at all in the prestigious event. Let's take a look at which horses will thrive in the 2013 Preakness Stakes this Saturday—despite their tough draws.
2013 Preakness Stakes: Full Post-Positions
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||1-1|
|2||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||8-1|
|3||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux||D. Wayne Lukas||30-1|
|4||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Albert M. Stall Jr.||6-1|
|5||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||5-1|
|6||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||15-1|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||14-1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||12-1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.||10-1|
2013 Preakness Stakes: Horses That Will Thrive Despite Positions
Post No. 1—Orb
Hot-favorite Orb being drawn on the rail was definitely the biggest talking point to emerge from the post-positions draw, and whilst it will definitely change the way in which Joel Rosario will ride the Kentucky Derby champion, it shouldn't change his status as the horse to beat this weekend.
Orb is a prolific sprinter with a mountain of speed and endurance.
The luxury of being on the rail means that Rosario can either push forward and lead from the front (which is how he won the Florida Derby earlier this year), or he can sit off the pace and circle the field as they come around the home corner (which is how he won at Churchill Downs earlier this month).
Orb has shown he's capable of winning regardless of how the race unfolds in front of him, and he'll be very tough to beat down the straight at Pimlico this weekend.
Historically, the No. 1 post might not bode that well for horses, but given Orb's class and talent, it's hard to see him not thriving at the Preakness Stakes in 2013.
Post No. 2—Goldencents
Many will say that Orb drew the worst post-position this year, but I think the "honor" of having the hardest draw actually falls to Goldencents in Post No. 2.
For not only is he on the inside, he's next to a legitimate star in Orb and may well have to adjust his racing tactics depending on how the favorite starts on the day.
As mentioned before, being on the inside allows riders to best gauge the speed of the horses around them and determine whether they want to ride with the speed up front or stay back and try and circle the field late.
That might not always seem like the best advantage, but for Goldencents and Kevin Krigger, it will allow them to ride the way that they think will best suit them.
In the Kentucky Derby, Goldencents got caught pressing forward and trying to stick with the blistering pace being set by Palace Malice, which eventually led to him running out of gas down the straight. Krigger knew that Goldencents had nothing to give due to his aggressive riding early and will likely look to rectify that mistake with an improved performance at Pimlico this weekend.
Goldencents showed he can win over the shorter track at the Santa Anita Derby earlier this year, and if he finds the front, he will be very tough to run down on the day given his sprinters pedigree. Especially if he finds the lead courtesy of his inside draw.
Post No. 9—Itsmyluckyday
Given the small field this year, the No. 9 post is in fact the widest draw here, which gives Itsmyluckyday the tough ask of trying to win from out wide.
And whilst I don't think he'll be able to win here, I don't think that's a result of his post position. He will be more than fine on the outside, and if he does lose on the day, it will be because of the fact that he wasn't able to stick with the pace that the likes of Goldencents and Orb mustered down the straight.
Four horses in the last 10 Preakness Stakes have won from post nine or wider. Twelve of the last 18 have won from seven or wider, and the last winner of the Preakness Stakes—I'll Have Another—won from the exact same post that Itsmyluckyday will jump from on the day—Post No. 9.
His runs at the Florida Derby and at Gulfstream Park show that over the shorter distance, Itsmyluckyday will be more than capable of success here.
Itsmyluckday's pedigree from his sire, Lawyer Ron, suggests he'll be very quick on the firmer track, and with early reports showing some exceptionally quick numbers, he could be a very big surprise on the outside post—especially if he gets a fast start.
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