Nearing the start of the 2013 Preakness Stakes, the smaller field compared to the Kentucky Derby makes for an interesting competition.
Meaning: Increased chances that an underdog shines down the stretch to take the victory.
Orb needs to win in order to remain as a Triple Crown contender, which simply adds pressure to him and jockey Joel Rosario. Factor Orb entering on five consecutive wins and that only amplifies Pimlico's magnitude.
As a result, fellow challengers have more incentive to pull the upset. Here, we examine those with lower odds capable of stealing the spotlight.
Note: View full list of contenders with post positions and odds courtesy of Preakness.com.
Titletown Five, Post 3
Titletown Five has the lowest of odds at 30-to-1 and sits between Goldencents and Departing.
That is a good position, though, because Titletown will be forced to keep up with the pace from the start. And given the shorter track length compared to Churchill Downs, he has the acceleration and top gear to remain near the front of the pack.
The challenge will be actually bolting to the front because Orb sits in Post 1 and Titletown Five hasn't faced this level of competition. Fortunately, jockey Julien Leparoux has great experience with over 1,800 wins and solid performances at Triple Crown competitions.
Will Take Charge, Post 7
Although Will Take Charge is positioned along the outer gates, he's primed for a strong display at Pimlico.
Despite taking eighth place at the Kentucky Derby, Will Take Charge will fare better on the quicker track. Entering the Triple Crown's first leg he had won the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March, a race a little shorter than the Preakness.
In addition, Will Take Charge has an advantage with veteran jockey Mike Smith. Featuring more than 5,000 victories, Smith has a strong resume in Triple Crown races. And his sense in knowing when to make a move will challenge the best contenders.
Itsmyluckyday, Post 9
Itsmyluckyday is another that will benefit from the shorter track length of Pimlico.
After a disappointing result in Kentucky, Itsmyluckyday received the outermost position with 10-to-1 odds. Although sitting way outside forces jockey John Velazquez to make a move much sooner than wanted, his established orchestration plays to Itsmyluckyday's favor.
Closing in on 5,000 victories, Velazquez will adjust to the race and capitalize when the opportunity comes around. Itsmyluckyday possesses the explosiveness to set the tempo, and with Velazquez on board, this is a dangerous duo.