Oxbow, the 15-to-1 long shot, won the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, putting an end to a Triple Crown bid for Orb, who began at the No. 1 post position and couldn't recover in time, as he wound up in fourth.
Finishing outside of the money has to be an extreme disappointment for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who has never won the big one at Pimlico Race Course in his illustrious career.
While Orb is going to steal many of the headlines, there were a couple of other horses who were expected to threaten and did not run very well. Goldencents, a sprinter who was thought to benefit from a shorter track at this leg of the Triple Crown, turned in another underwhelming performance.
Also among the letdowns was Bob Baffert's Govenor Charlie, who picked up steam with oddsmakers before the race but wound up next-to-last.
Below is an overview of the entire field, followed by detailed analysis of the horses who fared worse than expected.
Note: Statistics, odds and prior results, unless otherwise indicated, are courtesy of Preakness.com.
|1||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||6|
|2||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.||9|
|3||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||5|
|4||Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||1|
|5||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O’Neill||2|
|6||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr||Albert M. Stall, Jr||4|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||7|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||8|
|9||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux||D. Wayne Lukas||3|
Orb (Odds: 3-5; Place: 4)
Earlier in the week, Dave Grening of The Daily Racing Form warned those expecting Orb to run away with the Preakness as the unquestioned favorite to tread with caution:
David Grening @DRFGrening
Tabasco Cat (1994) only Preakness winner from the rail since 1961. #orb2013-5-15 22:12:08
That turned out to be a pseudo-prophetic statement, as Orb was a shade of the horse that ran and won the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. A significant factor was being close to the rail, as well as the pace of the race as it unfolded.
Agree or disagree with his opinions, but ESPN First Take television personality Skip Bayless nicely summarized what went wrong for Orb and prolific jockey Joel Rosario at Pimlico:
Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless
Rail post dooms Orb. Needed to swing wide early, got caught in midrace traffic, never could fire. Another one bites the Triple Crown dust.2013-5-18 22:30:43
Rosario was the winningest jockey and leading money winner amongst all of his peers on the 2013 season entering this race. Unfortunately, it took too long for him to get Orb going. Moving to the outside initially would have been the best move, but there was simply no room.
Orb gave horse racing fans a glimmer of hope at the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, but alas, capturing the elusive trio of accolades was not meant to be yet again.
Goldencents (Odds: 9-1; Place: 5)
Kevin Krigger was bidding to become the first black jockey to win the Preakness since 1898, but he also struggled with traffic issues with his slender but swift Goldencents.
Though the colt won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in impressive fashion leading up to Churchill Downs, he hasn't been the same since then. Trainer Doug O'Neill had some distressing news to report after the race, per KY Derby Contenders on Twitter:
KY Derby Contenders @DerbyContenders
O'Neill on HRTV says Goldencents "came up empty today" & is cooling out super. Belmont unlikely.2013-5-18 23:47:56
When victory was out of reach in the Run for the Roses, Krigger wisely pulled Goldencents back in an effort to better prepare him for Saturday's race.
Now it looks like Goldencents will come up empty-handed in all three legs of the Triple Crown. For such a talented horse, it has to be disappointing for the team around him. O'Neill was definitely hoping to mount a better defense of his Preakness title.
As strong of a jockey as Krigger is, he will have more chances moving forward. However, this was a formidable horse with a ton of potential, so it will be viewed as a golden opportunity missed.
Govenor Charlie (Odds: 9-1; Place: 8)
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert didn't have any entrants in the Kentucky Derby and felt that Govenor Charlie was good enough to go after the horse's stellar work earlier in the week.
Apparently oddsmakers were buying what Baffert was selling, because Govenor Charlie wound up knotted with Goldencents as the No. 3 contender in their eyes. That didn't translate to the track, though.
Govenor Charlie sagged behind even the moderate pace that Oxbow set and could never gain any traction at Pimlico.
That may have been a result of rust. After registering the fastest time in stakes history in a romp at the Sunland Derby, Govenor Charlie was held out of competition in Louisville due to a foot bruise suffered while training.
Whether health was still a factor is unknown, but his run in Baltimore with Martin Garcia aboard proved Govenor Charlie wasn't quite cut out for this type of competition.