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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.
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.
One of the issues I haven't seen addressed post-derby is the 24 hour around the clock video surveillance of the derby entrants. Did this surveillance keep certain trainers from being able to administer drugs or shakes to their horses? Orb who is bred like a champion ran like one. Would some of these other horses have run better with a little help? What measures are in place for the Preakness?
I just hope this doesn't change Claude. He is special because he doesn't look at Orb and see Triple Crown. He is special because he looks at Orb and sees Orb. His down to Earth working man policy is why he is what he is. I believe in Claude's policy, and I hope he continues it. I'm sure he won't run just to please the press and the mob. He'll only run Orb if Orb tells him he's ready to run. That's why McGaughey is da man.
Was I the only one watching the derby??? Orb's tactical speed and ability to accelerate makes him close to a sure thing in the Preakness. And the way he was running away from the competition in the FL Derby and Ky Derby leads me to believe he can go the 1 1/2 miles ... having Shug in your corner doesn't hurt either as he'll know how to get him to each race the fittest way possible. In my opinion, Orb can win the triple crown if he can take the grind to get there. BTW, I'm rooting for him ... racing needs a shot in the arm and a triple crown winner would go a long way!
It's very hard to see Orb losing at Pimlico. What really helps him is the 5-week break from Fla. Derby to Churchill. He should have another big one in him. Of course, if you think he's going to run right over Revolutionary in the Belmont, you would be wrong. That will be a very tough task for him, not to mention the many other quality runners like Mylute and Golden Soul who will be in the Belmont.
departing is a legit threat to orb in the preakness...
Will Take Charge was closing with Orb on turn until Verrazano swerved in front of him and blocked his progress. He wouldn't have beaten Orb ,but.....
Some may not agree but I think Oxbow is a horse to watch out for in the Preakness. I'll still be rooting for Orb as I would love to see a Triple Crown winner but in my opinion Oxbow rates an upset glance for sure.
No mention of Runner-up Golden Soul. Can we get a little love here? Fine by me, stay under the radar , worked well for me once.
Orb looked great and has a chance at the TC. I think Goldencents being bashed is ridiculous. It was a sloppy track and I would be very fearful of him in the preakness. As we all know anything can happen.
I didn't have the winner but I have never been more content and happy with the outcome of a big race in which I did not cash a ticket than I am with Orb's victory. Take heed race fans. The likes of Shug McGaughy, Ogden Phipps and the rest of Orb's connections will not be around for long and they are unlikely to reappear. This is a guy that has done it all the right way for the right reason. When the track came up sloppy I was afraid of an anomalous result. Instead, a true race horse won and we can all now credibly hope for a triple crown winner. Congrats to the connections.