With only nine horses in the field for the 2013 Preakness Stakes, there's a great chance for a horse to surprise many and deny Orb his chance for the Triple Crown.
The field for the Kentucky Derby was 19 horses deep, so the race at Pimlico should be much easier for the jockeys involved. There's not going to be as much jostling on the track and the horses won't get as congested.
If you missed the draw for the race, the Preakness Stakes posted a photo of what it will look like:
With just nine horses involved, it's hard to discount any completely. There isn't a horse that is going going to be completely written off by race time. Among the underdogs for the Preakness, these three stand out.
Oxbow didn't have strong odds going into the Kentucky Derby, but he managed a sixth-place finish. That's not bad considering the 19-horse field. With the Preakness down to the nine, there's a chance Gary Stevens can get his third win at Pimlico.
Although Stevens has fallen off a bit and struggled with injuries over the past few years, he's still a legendary jockey and has more than enough experience to lead Oxbow to a win at the Preakness. Then you throw in a trainer like D. Wayne Lukas, who's won the Preakness five times. That's a great combo to have.
The conditions at Churchill Downs for the Derby were poor, and that led to difficulties for many of the horses. Oxbow did very well to finish six, dealing with both the muddy track and major congestion.
The variables for the Preakness will be much kinder for him, which should mean a much better performance for Stevens and Oxbow.
Governor Charlie was pulled from the Derby by trainer Bob Baffert. It was a good example of putting the long-term ahead of the short-term. Baffert could have run Governor Charlie at Churchill Downs, but he chose instead to ensure the horse was going to be strong for the remainder of the Triple Crown.
If you're doubting Governor Charlie's skills, don't forget how well he performed at the Sunland Derby. He won by five lengths in a course record 1:47.54. It was a massive statement going into the Kentucky Derby, but Governor Charlie didn't have the chance to show what he's got.
Now he does, and with his health issues aside, Governor Charlie is primed to make a great run at Pimlico.
Will Take Charge
Will Take Charge is another of Lukas' horses in the race. As stated before, Lukas has quite a pedigree at Pimlico.
Prior to finishing eighth at the Kentucky Derby, Will Take Charge won at the Rebel Stakes. It was a strong race from Will Take Charge. He kept up with the pace, never straying too far from the pack. Then, when the time was right, Jon Court pushed the horse at the right moment and picked up the victory.
Court has yet to pick up a win in a Triple Crown race, but he's a talented jockey nonetheless. With his experience on Will Take Charge, he knows exactly when and when not to push the horse during the race.