Triple Crown hopeful Orb will have to overcome a poor draw in order to become the sixth horse since 2002 to win the first two legs on Saturday at the 2013 Preakness Stakes.
The Kentucky Derby winner will run out of post No. 1 this weekend. That's the only real bad news for Orb considering Tabasco Cat was the last to win the Preakness from the rail back in 1994.
But before you count out the talented colt, consider the following reasons why he's poised to win the 138th Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
Pimlico Is Not Churchill Downs
While it's usually game over for any horse that draws the rail at the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness is often more forgiving.
Pimlico Race Course is similar to Churchill Downs in terms of surface and distance of course, but there isn't so much trouble looming at the start according to Orb's trainer Shug McGaughey (via ESPN.com):
It's not nearly the problem it would be in the Derby. The Derby is kind of catty-cornered. You got to shove your way out of there or you get shut off down in there. It's pretty straightforward here. There are only nine horses. There's not going to be that kind of jockeying into the first turn. We'll just hold our position and see how the race plays out.
McGaughey also touches on another key reason why no one should be betting against Orb on Saturday.
Whom are you picking to win on Saturday?
There are only nine horses racing in this year's Preakness Stakes, which bodes well for Orb, who won't have to worry about being freight trained by the pack early on.
While a quick start is important, it won't be the end of the world for jockey Joel Rosario and Orb if they don't break away early considering there are only eight others horses to contend with, as opposed to 18 others at the Kentucky Derby.
In a large field there is a better chance for a closer like Orb to get swallowed up in the pack, but this year's Preakness field is small enough where Orb can recover from his poor draw.
Lack of Elite Competition
While Orb will be pitted against Kentucky Derby horses like Goldencents, Mylute and Itsmyluckyday on Saturday, he won't be pitted against of the horses that finished toward the top at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.
Golden Soul, Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion, who finished second through fourth at the Derby, are all absent from this weekend's race.
Fifth- and sixth-place finishers Mylute and Oxbow will race, but neither came close to matching Orb's world-class speed down the stretch at the Derby.
The other top contender, Departing, didn't race in the Derby, running in the Grade III Illinois Derby instead. But unlike Orb, Departing has yet to prove he possesses the greatness to win a Triple Crown event.
2013 Preakness Stakes Post Positions
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario ||
Shug McGaughey ||1/1|
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||12/1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||12/1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.||10/1|
*Odds via Preakness.com.
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