Updated on 05/07/2013 8:52AM

Preakness: Kentucky Derby winner Orb in great shape for Triple Crown's second leg


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner, came out of the race in good condition, trainer Shug McGaughey said Sunday morning at Churchill Downs, and he will continue his bid to be the first Triple Crown winner in 35 years when he makes his next start in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 18.

“I can’t wait to get there,” McGaughey said at Barn 43.

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McGaughey is not one to oversell his horses, but his confidence in Orb is radiating off him. He has repeatedly remarked that the reason Orb was even in the Derby was because of how he kept moving forward this winter at Gulfstream Park, and McGaughey said he believed Orb could continue his top form coming back in two weeks in the Preakness.

“The thing that has amazed me is how well he’s come out of his races,” McGaughey said. “He hasn’t been overcooked. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t run the same as he did yesterday.”

There has not been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

“I’d like the target on me. I can take it,” McGaughey said matter-of-factly. “I’m enjoying this experience.

“This is a position I’ve wanted to be in for 30 some-odd years.”

McGaughey, 62, called his first Derby win “a huge thrill.”

“It’s been a whirlwind last 10 or 12 hours,” he said.

McGaughey, his wife, Alison, and other family and friends went to dinner Saturday night at the popular Pat’s Steak House. According to Alison, the celebratory party didn’t break up until 3 a.m.

“The whole thing’s been surreal,” Alison McGaughey said. “You think you’re in shock. I think when we get home to New York and sit down it will sink in.”

Orb got a Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

Orb left Churchill Downs by van at 9:30 a.m. Sunday about 15 hours after he crossed the wire first in the Derby. He was flown later Sunday to New York, where McGaughey is based at Belmont Park from spring until fall. He also keeps horses at Saratoga.

As of Sunday morning, McGaughey said he envisioned giving Orb a workout at Belmont Park on the Monday or Tuesday preceding the Preakness – nine or 10 days following the Derby – and would van to Pimlico on that Tuesday, May 14.

“I want to get there, settle in, school him in the paddock,” McGaughey said.

As of Sunday, it appeared just a handful of horses exiting the Derby would challenge Orb in the Preakness, including the D. Wayne Lukas-trained duo of Oxbow, who finished sixth, and Will Take Charge, who was eighth.

Goldencents, 17th in the Derby, also is likely to run in the Preakness, and is due to arrive in Balatimore on Monday night. Mylute (fifth) and Itsmyluckyday (15th) are possible.

Doug O’Neill, the trainer of Goldencents, followed a similar course shipping to Baltimore two days after the Kentucky Derby last year with  I’ll Have Another, who won the Preakness but did not run in the Belmont Stakes.

Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said Goldencents will fly to New York on Monday afternoon and then van down to Pimlico.

Departing, winner of the Grade 3 Illinois Derby, is a probable starter, according to information supplied to Pimlico by trainer Al Stall Jr. According to Stall, Claiborne Farm principal Seth Hancock told him in a text at 9 a.m. Sunday before going to church that he was leaning toward running.

Heat Press, who finished second in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico on April 27, is considered unlikely to try the Preakness by trainer Graham Motion.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he would not take any of his five Derby runners to the Preakness. He said Revolutionary (third) and Overanalyze (11th) would likely be pointed to the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Verrazano, who finished 14th while suffering his first career loss, emerged from the race with a gash on his left hock. Pletcher said the injury did not require stitches.

“He’s had five races in a little more than four months, so we’ll back up a little and focus on the summer,” Pletcher said.

While it cannot be certain when the injury happened, the only time in the race it appeared that a horse ran up on the heels of Verrazano was at the top of the stretch, when the rallying Will Take Charge had to alter course behind the tiring Verrazano.

Horses who did not run in the Derby but could race in the Preakness include Bellarmine, Departing, Fear the Kitten, Govenor Charlie, and Heat Press.

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