Preakness 2013: Why Low Payout for Orb Makes Favorite a Bad Bet

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2013

May 4, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; Joel Rosario aboard Orb (16) celebrates after winning the 2013 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

After winning the Kentucky Derby in convincing fashion, Orb enters the Preakness Stakes as the overwhelming favorite. This is not necessarily the best bet to make on Saturday.

According to John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader, the horse was listed at 4-5 odds during the afternoon:

This means that a successful bet on the top contender would provide a return of less than your original price. While Orb is good, he is not solid enough to justify this low payout.

Despite winning five straight races, a lot had to go in the horse's favor to continue this streak. One major factor was the muddy track at Churchill Downs, where his experience paid off against some of the other competitors.

Other contenders like Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday struggled in those conditions earlier in the month, but they should be stronger at Pimlico. Newcomers Govenor Charlie and Departing should also be tough to beat.

However, the biggest issue that could hold Orb back from winning the second leg of the Triple Crown is the post position. He will have to start from the No. 1 slot, which could end up being a problem.

We saw at the Kentucky Derby what jockey Joel Rosario wanted to do with his mount. From the No. 16 post, he did not even try to get into good position at the start and was very comfortable sitting behind the pack. It was not until the final turn that Rosario pushed the horse to the front.

Unfortunately, this strategy might not be possible at the Preakness. Starting close to the rail will force Orb to get a good start; otherwise, he could end up being trapped inside with no room to maneuver. This will especially be true with the fast-starting Goldencents starting at No. 2.

Additionally, history is not on Orb's side entering the prestigious race, according to David Grening of Daily Racing Forum:

The Kentucky Derby winner will have to overcome a long list of failed runners at this event. Based on the competition around him, it will not be too easy.

Orb is likely the most talented horse in the race, but that does not always lead to a win. There are too many factors at play that can prevent him from entering the winner's circle.

With this in mind, it would be a smarter move to place a bet on one of the other contenders that could hopefully bring a better payout.