Two weeks ago, Orb was a fading Kentucky Derby favorite generating little hype, at least in terms of the oddsmakers' choice to win the biggest horse race of the year. Now, he's the prohibitive Preakness Stakes favorite and is being viewed as a serious Triple Crown threat.
After the post position draw, Orb was installed as the 1-1 morning-line favorite for the second leg of the Triple Crown. He will break from the extreme inside of a nine-horse field, which features three horses that didn't run in the Kentucky Derby.
Should Orb pull off another victory, only the Belmont Stakes would stand between him and the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Here's a look at the viewing information to watch his run toward history followed by a race preview and prediction.
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
When: Saturday, May 18 at 6 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Last year, I'll Have Another backed up his Kentucky Derby win with an equally impressive showing in the Preakness Stakes. Orb hopes to replicate that accomplishment before heading home to Belmont Park in search of the Triple Crown.
The most amazing aspect of Orb's rise was how quickly he transformed from an also-ran into a dominant force. He didn't break his maiden until the fourth race of his career, but he is now on a five-start winning streak, including two straight Grade 1 victories.
At Churchill Downs two weeks ago, the race fell perfectly for Orb. The unsustainable early pace eliminated multiple top horses from contention and allowed him to run past nearly the entire field with a perfectly timed late charge.
The early pace will once again be a critical factor. Two horses in the race, Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday, showed off good speed in the derby. But they went too hard, too soon and weren't able to sustain it for their entire trip.
Those horses will be much bigger threats to Orb if things get off to a more reasonable start in the second leg. It's up to jockeys Kevin Krigger (Goldencents) and John Velazquez (Itsmyluckyday) to make sure their horses have something left for the stretch.
The most intriguing entry that didn't run in the derby is Departing. He's won four of five career starts. His latest victory came in the Illinois Derby last month, which was a strong bounce-back performance after a third-place showing in the Louisiana Derby.
Departing's winning time in his last start was a shade under 1:51 and a fraction better than Orb's winning time in the Florida Derby, the last time he raced at the distance. So he's featured the potential necessary to pull off the upset and is working with a couple extra weeks of rest.
Ultimately, however, Orb is the rightful heavy favorite. His run in the Kentucky Derby showed he's peaking at the right time and should have plenty of energy left. He actually won his first race on two weeks of rest, so that shouldn't be an issue.
Orb should find the winner's circle once again, causing interest in the Belmont Stakes to skyrocket.