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Preakness Stakes: Orb, Departing have tangled stories
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.
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
|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|
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.
Field in Baltimore keeps expanding! Hope it doesn't get overcrowded.
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?
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.