VIENNA, Va., May 16, 2013 — Here comes the Preakness face-off: Orb vs. the rest of the pack. With his stunning performance on May 4, the 1-3/16 length of the Pimlico track should not present a formidable opposition to Shug McGaughey’s colt, who also proved he could run in the mud and slop with the best of them, only better.
The draw for post positions settles some questions as to who has the luck of the draw. Orb drew the No. 1 slot, Goldencents drew No. 2, and long shot Titletown Five got No. 3. Assuming a relatively fast track, these are good spots for anyone to make a great race in.
The No. 4 spot went to Departing; Mylute drew No. 5, and Oxbow sealed No. 6. These show up in past performances as better than average slots as well.
The final three horses are Will Take Charge in No. 7, Governor Charlie in No. 8 and Itsmyluckyday finishes out the small field as No. 9.
Saturday’s race may bring a startling newcomer into contention as Itsmyluckyday (hereafter referred to as “lucky.”) Only potential fly in the ointment is that trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. decided an all day rain might make the track too hard for his guy and has withheld trainings, while Orb is out there running a gallop or two.
Other than that, we will again see Goldencents from Doug O’Neill, Mylute from Tom Amoss, Oxbow from Wayne Lukas and Calumet, and another newcomer, Governor Charlie, courtesy of Bob Baffert, who held him out of the Derby. Lukas will also saddle Will Take Charge and Titletown Five.
Two horses have a background together: McGaughey’s Orb, and Departing, trained by Albert Small, Jr., were colts together at Claiborne farm, romping in the meadows and fields at the same time. Do they remember each other? Who knows, but stranger things than that have occurred in the animal kingdom. They will still be out to beat each other, Departing having been gelded and now in a different category as Orb, who will go on to the breeding barns, particularly if he locks up the Triple Crown.
Orb’s speed has set up a head storm of hopes that he can take the Preakness and the Belmont and will claim the first Triple Crown since 1978 when Affirmed took the title.
It has been a long dry spell, and a Triple Crown would be a total delight to the racing fans and the public as a whole. But first Orb has to take the Preakness, and there appears little doubt that he can do just that, and probably without raising a sweat.
With the smaller track at Pimlico, there is less chance of a packed field where a horse like Orb can take off and go charging forward; unless there is a fluke, it stands to be more of a cluster race from start to finish. Current weather predictions – which can change – will see a warm and sunny Saturday, and hopefully with no rain to mess up odds and running.
Orb arrived at Pimlico Monday evening and in his workouts has been described by McGaughey as “full of energy and running!”
If you are into picking by jockeys, you have a good selection to choose from. Joel Rosario is on board Orb, of course; out of retirement Gary Stevens will again ride Oxbow; Kevin Krigger who again hopes to be the first black jockey since 1902 to win a Triple Crown race will be with Goldencents. Baffert has chosen Martin Garcia for Governor Charlie, and Rosie Napravnik will be back on Mylute, who wants to be the first woman jockey to ride in a Preakness race. Longtime favorite Julien Leparoux will try his luck on Titletown Five, and John Velasquez will be on Itsmylucky day.
This early on, the odds are pretty even and much lower than those for the Derby were. Orb has even odds, Mylute is 5-1, Departing is 6-1, Goldencents is 8-1, Itsmyluckyday is 10/1,
Will Take Charge and Governor Charlie are both 12-1, Oxbow is 15-1, and Titletown Five is 30-1.
The Race for the Black Eyed Susans will air at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, and be over before you can go fix a julep type drink, also called the Black Eyed Susan. For those devotees of race-connected libations, the official recipe is:
The Black-Eyed Susan, Official Drink of the Preakness
1.25 oz. Finlandia Vodka
0.25 oz. St. Germain Liqueur
2 oz. Lemon Juice
3 oz. Lemongrass & Blackberry simple syrup
6 drops of Angostura Bitters
Garnish with one sage leaf.
Created by Gina Chersevani Dundee.
You have to be at the track to get the official glass decorated with the flowers.
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