The challengers for Orb's run tomorrow at Old Hilltop or Pimlico Race Track in Maryland are lining up. If Orb takes the second leg of the Triple Crown expect race fans to go into a frenzy at the thought of there being a Triple Crown winner on the horizon!
In analyzing the contenders for this race you have to consider some of the "mythical" evidence such as, horses who do not show up for the Kentucky Derby generally do not win the Preakness. Over the last several years there have been three Preakness winners who did not run in the Kentucky Derby. They are Red Bullet 2000, Bernardini 2006 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009. The Pimlico track is also referenced as a track with fast pace or a speed favored oval and horses that are too far off the pace coming into the stretch will not win. Keep in mind this race will be run at 1-3/16 miles which is shorter than the 1-1/4 mile Kentucky Derby. Jockey Joel Rosario is going to have to have his strategy well balanced for the usual late running Orb and be in contention off the stretch turn.
Orb PP1 -Jockey: Joel Rosario, Trainer: Shug McGaughey, Odds: Even
Goldencents PP2 -Jockey: Kevin Krigger, Trainer: Doug O'Neill, Odds: 8/1
Titletown Five PP3 - Jockey: J. Leparoux,Trainer: Wayne Lukas, Odds: 30/1
With this year's field only having 9 contenders the horses I believe will impact this race are as follows: Orb won the Kentucky Derby as the favorite. There is some dispute regarding his 1 post position for the Preakness but this horse broke from the 1 gate in the Fountain of Youth in February and won. He also ran his very first race out of the 1 gate and finished third behind winner Violence last August. There are some who are arguing that Orb will not be able to win because the track does not benefit his running style, as this race is traditionally won by sprinters. Orb will have one of the hottest jockey's steering him in the Preakness and if he doesn't let him get too far off the pace coming into the final turn, this should be his race.
Mylute's run in the Kentucky Derby was much like Orb's. Jockey Napravnik kept him back, came up the stretch and was in the mix with Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion before finally crossing the finish line fifth in the Derby, but was beaten less than 4 lengths. Mylute's sire, Midnight Lute, has his first crop of horses turning three this year and two of his offspring are Mylute and Governor Charlie and will be running in the Preakness. Midnight Lute has the top Beyer of any sprinter and is a two time Breeders' Cup Sprint winner. Jockey Rosie Napravnik won the first race of her career at Pimlico in 2005. She has trained in Maryland and would like nothing more than to win this race! Last year she became the only female jockey to win the Kentucky Oaks onboard Believe You Can.
Goldencents was pulled up in the Derby around the eighth pole as he didn't like the muddy track and was not on course with his typical running style. This horse won the Santa Anita Derby and was 4 for 6 in career starts before the Kentucky Derby. He does like the early pace but he cannot get himself into speed war with early runner Titletown Five. Goldencents completed a strong gallop on Wednesday and trainer O'Neill believes he keeps moving forward and is getting better.
Departing is looking good as well. He is 4 for 5 in his career coming off a win in the Illinois Derby where he was pulling away in the stretch. His strides are efficient and he worked a half mile on Tuesday and galloped out on Wednesday.
Itsmyluckyday took fifteenth in the Kentucky Derby. It was disappointing. He had two great wins in January of this year and has been beaten by Orb twice since then. He trained at Monmouth early this week before shipping to Baltimore. He has a major jockey change here with Johnny Velazquez taking control! Can Johnny V. make something happen or has this colt already peaked? With odds at 10/1 he may be the price in the field.
I believe it's going to be difficult for the competition to get around Orb in this field but they are certainly going to try. Weather in Baltimore shows occasional rain showers and a high of 72F. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph and the chance of rain 50%. I checked with Meteorologist Mark Johnson and it looks as though there will be only cloud coverage come post time. Even if the track is muddy we know Orb can handle it! Good Luck Race Fans!!