05/07/2013 4:03PM

Preakness Stakes: Orb, Departing have tangled stories

Four-Footed Fotos
Departing, seen winning last month's Grade 3 Illinois Derby, is a dangerous newcomer to the Preakness picture.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It is perhaps the most compelling storyline of the 138th Preakness Stakes, this inextricable entanglement of Orb, Departing, and their respective connections.

The horses spent their early days together in the same paddock at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., and after going their separate ways for a time, they will reunite May 18 for a date with racing destiny in the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore.

Orb, a rousing 2 1/2-length winner of the Kentucky Derby last Saturday at Churchill Downs for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, looms a solid favorite in the Preakness in his pursuit of the Triple Crown. Orb’s owners and breeders are Ogden Mills Phipps and his cousin Stuart Janney III, whose lifelong ties to the Baltimore community will be widely noted in the coming days.

Departing, bred and owned by Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider, looks like the most dangerous newcomer to the 2013 Triple Crown series as a 3 1/4-length winner of the Illinois Derby in his last start. Departing, a gelded son of War Front, is trained by Al Stall Jr.

The racing tapestry of these two 3-year-olds is fused by the business relationship of more than a half-century between the extended Phipps family and the Hancocks of Claiborne. The Phippses board their blue-blooded mares at Claiborne, and their top stallions have gone to stud at Claiborne, returning to their birthplace. Because of their history together, Claiborne seems a likely home for Orb when he goes to stud.

[2013 PREAKNESS STAKES: Latest news, video, and more]

One of the most famous tales in American racing involves A.B. “Bull” Hancock flipping the coin that gave Ogden Phipps a horse he wanted – while Penny Chenery had to settle for Secretariat.

A more recent saga intertwining both camps had a happy culmination with the naming of Lure, a Claiborne homebred, to the Racing Hall of Fame. Lure was trained by McGaughey at a time when he had the occasional horse for Claiborne, before he went private with the Phippses. Orb even has the one-syllable name for which Claiborne horses are known.

Stall, a major racing aficionado aside from his outstanding work as a trainer, is among those enjoying all the overlaps and coincidences. His lone prior starter in the Preakness was Terrain, seventh in 2009 for Dilschneider.

“It’s amazing stuff when you think about it,” Stall said early this week at Churchill. “We’ll be going up there trying to knock Orb and the Phippses out of the Triple Crown. I have no clue if we can do it, but we’re happy with the way our horse is doing.”

Short odds for Orb

Various wagering outlets are offering odds in the 3-1 range on a sweep of the Triple Crown by Orb, including the popular gambling site sportsbook.com, which is posting that exact price. A bet against a Triple Crown sweep is set at 1-5.

Meanwhile, Frank Carulli, the longtime Pimlico oddsmaker, said Tuesday he intends to list Orb “at less than 2-1” for the Preakness, “but obviously I’ll have to take a long look at everything else in against him.”

This is the last Preakness for Carulli, who is retiring later this year to move to Nevada.

◗ The traditional travel date for horses being flown from Churchill to Baltimore – the Wednesday morning before the Preakness – is in effect again this year, according to Buddy Fife, the booking agent for the equine air-charter service Tex Sutton.
“It’s just a matter of whether we’ll need to make one or two trips,” Fife said. “I’ll know something more here in a few days.”

◗ Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Itsmyluckyday in the Preakness, according to trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. Itsmyluckyday was ridden by Elvis Trujillo when 15th in the Derby. Velazquez rode Verrazano to a 14th-place finish in the Derby.

◗ Govenor Charlie, who was withdrawn from Derby consideration by trainer Bob Baffert just two days before the entry deadline, breezed six furlongs Tuesday at Churchill in 1:11.40.

◗ Larry Collmus, who called the Derby on NBC for the third straight year, had this to say on Twitter after the race: “That was the hardest race I’ve ever had to call. With the muddy silks, when I gave Orb the big call I was about 80 percent sure it was him.”

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch

Probable starters for the 2013 Preakness Stakes

Horse Trainer Jockey Last race/finish
Departing Al Stall Jr. Brian Hernandez Jr. Illinois Derby, 1st
Goldencents Doug O'Neill Kevin Krigger Kentucky Derby, 17th
Govenor Charlie Bob Baffert Martin Garcia Sunland Derby, 1st
Itsmyluckyday Eddie Plesa Jr. John Velazquez Kentucky Derby, 15th
Mylute Tom Amoss Rosie Napravnik Kentucky Derby, 5th
Normandy Invasion Chad Brown Javier Castellano Kentucky Derby, 4th
Orb Shug McGaughey Joel Rosario Kentucky Derby, 1st
Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas Gary Stevens Kentucky Derby, 6th
Street Spice Greg Geier Jeffrey Sanchez Illinois Derby, 5th
Titletown Five D. Wayne Lukas TBA Derby Trial, 4th
Vyjack Rudy Rodriguez Garrett Gomez Kentucky Derby, 18th
Will Take Charge D. Wayne Lukas Jon Court Kentucky Derby, 8th


Eric More than 1 year ago
Orb may dominate these horses, but, and this point was made in a posting somewhere on this site, Derby winners that had to come from far back to win the derby (>10 lengths) have had very poor success in the Preakness (0 for the last 10 such horses). That may very well be one of those perfectly true, yet meaningless statistics, but there is no doubt that Orb had the most perfect trip a closer could get in the KD....4th fastest early pace, and nearly 54 seconds for the final half (and a nearly 27 sec. final quarter). At the very least, this gives others a realistic chance at an upset. In fact, because of his trip, Orb is EXACTLY the kind of horse the DRF wiseguys love picking against in most races. It will be interesting to see if any of them do, or if they will just annoint Orb as unbeatable and the next TC winner.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Field in Baltimore keeps expanding! Hope it doesn't get overcrowded.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Wish I knew the history of horses running well in IL Derby and bypassing the KY Derby to shoot for the Preakness. Any stats? Of course, the IL Derby and Preakness are much closer together this year. Departing is a nice horse, but if he were in Orb's tier, wouldn't he have been in the BIG Derby in the first place?
Scott More than 1 year ago
Greg, the last time a horse that won the Illinois Derby had a say in the Preakness is War Emblem. Of course, that one had won the Derby too and it was a really down year. Departing is no better than a 3rd place finisher in the Preakness in my opinion and frankly, I think you'll be safe leaving him out completely.
Eric More than 1 year ago
Most horses that have historically run well in Ill. Derby, which was run 3-4 weeks (not sure) before the KD, went on to run in the KD. The date of the Ill. race was changed this year after CD left it out of the prep races with points awarded for determining K derby starters. So this is the first year the Ill Derby has been positioned as a Preakness prep, so there probably aren't any comparable stats. You probably know all of this, so sorry if I'm overstating the obvious.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Would like to see a TC winner, but don't think, Norm Invas hasn't beat winners yet..... But the one Orb will have to beat, won't cdatch him, itluckday turns around 3rd, all sup
Frank More than 1 year ago
What are smoking -- Pass it on! Orb will not be beat by any derby horse in the remaining TC races. He is clearly better than that bunch -- he showed it on Derby day.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Could be, but Derby winners are almost always getting beaten in the Preakness by horses that finished behind them in the Derby.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Tell that to Smarty Jones or Charismatic or Real Quiet, or War Emblem, or Funny Cide.
Black More than 1 year ago
Since '80 12 derby winners----- 16 derby losers ----- 5 new shooters. The Derby winner didn't run 3 times.
Frank More than 1 year ago
This horse is the total package -- And notice how the sports writers are not talking triple crown yet like they do after a horse wins the Ky Derby. They will after the Preakness and rightfully so.
DeaconJohnwell More than 1 year ago
By Malibu Moon Out Of AP INDY...Hmmmmm
Frank More than 1 year ago
AP Indy -- Test of Champion winner and Breeders Cup Classic winner -- Yea what is your point? Do you know who AP Indy is? Of course you don't -- you probably only know Quarter horses...
Scott More than 1 year ago
I really like Orb's chances to take the Preakness. There is too much speed for someone to steal it on the lead. Governor Charlie and Goldencents will assure a true pace along with Itsmyluckyday. Orb will likely be closer unless a suicidal pace breaks out. I'm thinking he'll be only about 7 lengths back and when they turn for home there is only one horse I wonder about: Will Take Charge. WTC is the only horse that had a legitimate excuse in the Derby. Verrazano stopped directly in front of him when he was at his biggest run and it's worth noting he was stride for stride with Orb at that point. I think that he would have had to find his way around a fading fast Normandy Invasion in the stretch too, but he was definitely full of run and not without a chance. I do think that Orb would have finished him in the stretch, but he might have been 2nd best without interferance. As long as he's healthy, I might take a flyer on him if the odds are tempting. Departing is in way over his head. I doubt he's good enough to hit the board in the Preakness. He didn't beat anyone in the Illinois and he couldn't do any better than a distant 3rd in the LA Derby to horses in Revolutionary and Mylute who didn't even sniff Orb's butt in the Derby despite having a perfect pace set up for their styles. Prediction: 1) Orb 2) Will Take Charge 3) Itsmyluckyday (note: I don't think he liked the track at all and was training like a winner leading up to the Derby. Couple that with getting too close to a very hot pace and his day was spent. I don't think he wants the distance, but most of the other horses don't either).
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
What was Departings time in that ILL Derby vs some of others in here. Johnny V isn't gonna torch up LuckyDay this time.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
I like Luckyday in Preakness, too. Like you, don't know if he'll win, but if he runs his real race, he'll finish much better.
Mad Vaper More than 1 year ago
The Preakness is the easiest on to win...the logical horse always wins! Therefore take the easy money with Orb is the way to go. I do think Borel is a moron and had Revolutionary on a dead rail the entire trip...every race all day they stayed way off the rail and that numb skull keeps down there.. See for the Belmont as much as I want a triple crown winner I will without a doubt be on Revolutionary with my money while my heart will be rooting for a triple crown winner because Orb is going there with the chance IMO
Biggar W More than 1 year ago
Ya, that moron stayed on the rail and has 3 KD wins.
Scott More than 1 year ago
Borel really knows the Churchill oval, so there is little doubt that he gave Revolutionary his best chance. It was a clean trip and he still wasn't in sniffing distance. That said, Revolutionary will definitely be live in the Belmont Stakes. Having the extra rest has proven successful for so many in the past. Golden Soul is also a horse that seems to have a real shot at taking down Orb in the Belmont (assuming he wins the 2nd leg like I think he will).
jttf More than 1 year ago
the wood memorial jinx stopped vyjack and verrazano this year. but what do these jinxed horses do after the derby ? alpha finished 12th in last years derby and then won the jim dandy and travers. in 2010, jackson bend finished 12th in derby, then was boxed in and finished a close 3rd in the preakness. any given saturday finished 8th in the derby and then won the dwyer and travers. tale of ekati finished finished 4th in the derby and tired in the belmont to finish 6th. jazil finished in a dead heat for 4th in the derby and then won the belmont stakes. even the 120 (20 length winner) wood memorial beyer for bellamy who finished 7th in the derby came back and finished 2nd in the travers. the derby race after the wood memorial is usually a big bounce for these horses. if they are healthy, watch out for them to improve in their next race.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Interesting points!
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
BTW, good news that Jackson Bend is coming back!
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
Paul Sandahl More than 1 year ago
ORB is on the verge of being something special. Staying sound is his biggest obstacle for winning the next 2. Mike Smith mistook Palace Malice for Dr. Fager.
DeaconJohnwell More than 1 year ago
Moms got the pic 4 but I didn't get nothing...I was stuck on John Valasquez but I had Orb..I love all horses out of AP Indy bloodline...
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
I heard Mike Smith say BEFORE the race that a jockey's object in the Derby had to be to get his horse away from the gate aggressively and get him into the race. THEN let him find his rhythm. Might have worked OK if they hadn't added blinkers. They turned him into Artax.
Mark Kennedy More than 1 year ago
Hey steve dont get me wrong i like orb and think maybe fate has chosen this particular group to win the tc could you think of a more squea clean just palin good trainer and you couldnt a pick a more deserving thoroubred family im just throwing out a few probables that might spoil the party if he gets through the preakness the rest is history
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
I don't necessarily like Normandy Invasion, but Orb won't beat him at Pimlico, everything else depends on how the race sets up. I wouldn't want to make the decision that Baffert and O'neill have to make on strategy for this race.