All talk surrounding the 2013 Preakness Stakes has surrounded Triple Crown hopeful Orb, to nobody's surprise. But that's only where you start as far as talking about elite thoroughbreds capable of victory at Pimlico.
While a handful of Orb's opponents have followed him from Churchill Downs after the Kentucky Derby, there's no shortage of fresh horses who skipped this year's Run for the Roses in the efforts to have a better shot at victory in the Preakness.
That move has paid off for some trainers and owners, while at other times, the horse with the hot hand or the most recent experience takes the crown. With this year we have a combination of both, and each side of the spectrum shows incredibly talented horses who are capable of stealing Orb's thunder and ending his Triple Crown bid.
Post position to start out the race is a huge deal as well, despite the nine-horse field making things a bit less crowded and easier to move around in. Some horses found just the gate to suit their style.
Let's take a look at the speedsters Orb will have to fend off to keep the Triple Crown hopes alive.
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Md.
When: Saturday, May 18
Post Time: 6:20 p.m. ET
Purse: $1 million
Post Positions and Odds for 2013 Preakness Stakes
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario ||Shug McGaughey ||10-11|
|2||Goldencents ||Kevin Krigger ||Doug O’Neill ||8-1|
|3||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux||D. Wayne Lukas||28-1|
|4||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr||Albert M. Stall, Jr||13-2|
|5||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||13-2|
|6||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||16-1|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||12-1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||10-1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.||10-1|
Odds via Bovada
It just seems like the perfect time may have finally presented itself for Mylute to make history for the jockey and trainer he follows.
For starters, jockey Rosie Napravnik is trying to become the first female jockey to win the Preakness Stakes. And it's a long time coming, as she's boasted a few consecutive seasons of solid racing and figures to be one of the sport's elite horse riders.
Napravnik and Mylute are coming off a fifth-place finish at Churchill Downs amidst a muddy, crowded track. Her resolve and ability to stick with it through tight spots will pay off in the much more spacious Pimlico.
As crazy as it is that respected trainer Tom Amoss has never won a Triple Crown race, this is likely his best shot at doing so.
And with the experience Napravnik has in following Orb throughout the Churchill Downs race earlier this month, it shouldn't be too tough for Mylute to stick with the derby champion and make a late push.
It's hard to see a scenario where Goldencents doesn't come firing out of the gate. The only question is how the last half of the race will treat the scrutinized thoroughbred.
Part-owned by Rick Pitino and trained by I'll Have Another star Doug O'Neill, Goldencents has all of the training and preparation necessary to become the horse to upset Orb's chance at the Triple Crown.
We could talk all day about Goldencents' championship-caliber pedigree and training, buti t's the position that will help him the most. Starting out in the No. 2 position, he'll be able to get out to an early lead with little to no issues considering Orb will be saving his best for last.
O'Neill wasn't shy about how his contender looked on the track the eve leading up to the big race, according to his personal Twitter.
Doug O'Neill @DougONeill1
Goldencents on the track yesterday. Looking happy and strong. Photo courtesy of Cathy our friend from Lubrisyn... http://t.co/Z1RFoGzjxk2013-5-17 16:44:05
Jockey Kevin Krigger will have to magnificently work the opening gate to make sure his horse gets out in front and can take the inside. Doing so is so crucial at Pimlico, where it's much tougher to caddy-corner the turns.
Inside position is huge in the Preakness, and Goldencents can prove that if he can win Saturday.
Starting in the No. 8 spot, Govenor Charlie will have a great opportunity to attack from the outside late in the race just as Orb did in Churchill Downs.
But it's not the starting position that has trainer Bob Baffert excited. It's his decision to skip out on the Kentucky Derby in the efforts to rest his thoroughbred that has Govenor Charlie boasting a unique advantage over most of the field.
Baffert knows what he's doing at Pimlico. He's won five races in 13 appearances there and certainly has the knowledge part of the track down.
The trainer seems to be a fan of his horse's post spot as well, according to his personal Twitter account.
Led by one of the sport's legendary trainers and ridden by jockey Martin Garcia, Govenor Charlie seems to have a solid shot at upsetting the field and proving his worth. A victory is certainly too much to ask for, but it's not impossible and he should at least be finishing in the first three.