As if handicapping horses wasn't hard enough, the Preakness Stakes took everything we learned in the Kentucky Derby and dumped it on its head.
The Preakness was merely supposed to be another chance for Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, to shine as the hype for a possible Triple Crown winner built up.
Instead, it was the race where 2013's Triple Crown talk went to die, as Oxbow, another 2013 Kentucky Derby competitor, propelled himself to eternal glory with a surprising win.
How surprising was the win? Well, it paid a $2 bet to win $32.80.
|1||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||6||$32.80, $12.00, $6.80|
|2||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.||9||$7.80, $5.00|
|3||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||5||$5.20|
|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 ||
*Payouts and results according to Bovada.
It was an impressive win for Oxbow, which Yahoo! Sports points out with this tweet:
This is the kind of victory that certainly will inspire confidence for the Belmont, and it appears that Oxbow will be headed to New York.
Derby Contenders passed this along:
Lukas says Oxbow owner "very agressive" so Belmont seems likely.— KY Derby Contenders (@DerbyContenders) May 18, 2013
How do we know what to expect from Oxbow, though? He looked like a completely different horse at the Kentucky Derby where he didn't have the stamina to finish off the race and wound up sixth.
In the first leg, it was Orb that left everyone impressed. So impressed that he was a huge favorite heading into the Preakness. On top of that, he looked amazing during the week.
Orb's legendary trainer, who also happens to be Oxbow's trainer, D. Wayne Lukas had this to say, via the Block News Alliance's Rick Bozich: "Orb's work the other day would make you not want to enter."
However, in the ever unpredictable world of horse racing, Orb was locked in against the rail from Post No. 1 in the Preakness, and he never mounted a big charge, finishing fourth.
It was a supremely baffling performance from the horse who had looked so dominant in winning the Kentucky Derby. This leaves Orb's brain trust to decide if they want to take him to Belmont, but if his trainer, Shug McGaughey, has his way, Orb will be there.
The Daily Racing Form's David Grening gave us a look at the possibility of Orb heading to Belmont with this tweet:
Shug said if Orb is okay and the owners are willing, he would like to run back in the Belmont.— David Grening (@DRFGrening) May 18, 2013
So, we have two horses likely battling for Belmont-favorite status who both looked dominant enough to take victory in one Triple Crown race, but also have out-of-the-money finishes in their other Triple Crown outing.
Who will finish higher in the Belmont?
If we go back further in for these horses, the results favor Orb. After all, the Preakness was only the third win in Oxbow’s career.
Orb, on the other hand, had won his last five starts heading into the Preakness and had the look of a horse headed toward elite greatness. However, Oxbow is now the hot horse.
So, when it comes to the Belmont, round up all the handicapping tricks you know, because you're going to need them.