05/18/2013 8:37AM

Preakness Day at Pimlico


Happy Preakness Day from Pimlico, where it is overcast, and security to get into the track is tight. There is a chance of showers here today, but probably not enough to impact track conditions. Temperatures are predicted to top out in the high 60s to low 70s.

Speaking of track conditions, I though the inside on the main track here was dead on Friday. One local whose opinion I respect said it has been that way all meet, especially in sprint races. So it’s a good idea to pay extra attention on how the track is playing early on.

If the inside still looks like a place to avoid, I don’t think it will have any affect Orb’s chances in the Preakness. He’s going to fall back early anyway, and with the two horses to his immediate right having some speed, he should have some space to get off the inside early. Besides, Orb is an outside runner. You have to expect he’s going to get to the outside at some point during the Preakness because that’s where he’s comfortable. Still, you hate to see any kind of track bias on big race days, and I hope we see an even main track from the get-go today.

To reiterate, I’ve been on Orb for a while now, so while I never relish taking short-priced favorites, I feel I can do so in this case. And I still like the Preakness Orb over Will Take Charge.

I’m also interested in a few horses in some of the undercard stakes. In the Chick Lang (the sixth race), I anticipate a pace battle and like City of Weston and Undrafted to close and capitalize. In the James Murphy (the seventh race), I’m going to play around a bit with Red Wings. There are no killers in the Murphy, Red Wings is a much better horse now than when he tried turf earlier in his career, and being by English Channel, from a Red Ransom mare, he’s cut out to be a grass horse. And in the Dixie (the 11th race), I’m hoping I get something even close to the 5-1 Imagining is on the morning line. There was a time when I though Imagining was every bit as good, if not better, than Point of Entry, who last year emerged as one of the top three turf horses in the country. Imagining has had some issues, but trainer Shug McGaughey has him going good now – he was much the best winning last month at Keeneland off a nine month absence – and there is still time for him to be a Grade 1-level performer.

Good luck today, everyone.