While Orb's attempt to keep his Triple Crown bid going is the overlying storyline heading into the 2013 Preakness Stakes, there's no shortage of horses ready to surprise the field by posting stellar performances.
Some of Orb's stiffest competition from the Kentucky Derby isn't in contention Saturday, but many of the favorites from Churchill Downs will have a shot to outlast Orb and gain victory. They also could please bettors with a top-three finish.
There's no doubt that Orb boasts the unique pedigree and training experience necessary to win the Triple Crown, but his starting spot at the No. 1 post position could give him trouble. Since 1960, only two horses have ever won the Preakness sitting atop the post.
Let's take a look at the horses who will surprise on the 1-3/16-mile track when Saturday rolls around.
It wasn't exactly a lucky day for Itsmyluckyday at Churchill Downs during the latest Kentucky Derby, but he'll make that a distant memory with a strong performance Saturday.
Just before the Kentucky Derby, Orb and Itsmyluckyday starred in the field at the Florida Derby, but that time it wasn't Orb who went into the race with all of the hype. Itsmyluckyday was the favorite there before being overtaken by Orb.
Itsmyluckyday is also one of just two horses (Titletown Five) who have raced against the Triple Crown competitor more than once.
All in all, it's shaping up to be a special day for Itsmyluckyday, and perhaps this is the day his name has been referring to for all this time.
Look far and wide and you'll never find another horse that was more talked about heading into the 2013 Kentucky Derby than Goldencents.
However, the thoroughbred slipped near the back of the pack in the final turn and couldn't get back, finishing poorly after entering the day as one of the top favorites.
Saturday could be different for the horse partially owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. The shorter distance may help in the latter stages, as well as the short list of opponents he's facing.
Plus, the No. 2 post position is an ideal spot for this fast track.
Jockey Kevin Krigger was ready to shock the world a few weeks back at Churchill Downs, but he'll be able to channel some of that magic this weekend.
I thought heading into the Kentucky Derby that Mylute had a great chance to become a dark-horse champion at Churchill Downs, and he ended up finishing fifth in a 19-horse field. You may be able to expect better from Mylute this weekend, especially since the three horses that finished between him and Orb aren't in the field.
Mylute starts out in the No. 5 spot with fantastic female jockey Rosie Napravnik, who turned out to be a great team in the Kentucky Derby. They ran with the front of the pack for the last half of the race and had a great shot at victory before being passed up in the end.
Still, he showed great resiliency staying at the top of the pack. That will bode well on this shorter, faster track that fits perfectly to his style. Napravnik knows that, and she's ready to ride the horse accordingly.
Not many people are talking about Mylute, but he may as well be one of the favorites at Pimlico.
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