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Preakness Stakes: Orb might face seven Kentucky Derby rivals, newcomer Departing
By Jay Privman
Orb vanquished 18 horses in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, and as of Monday it looked like as many as seven of them would try again, and four newcomers were set to join the party, when the Triple Crown trail shifts to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes on May 18.
Orb immediately created Triple Crown buzz because of the convincing manner in which he won the Derby, his fifth straight victory. No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed 35 years ago, and Orb still has to get through the Preakness before taking aim at the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 8. But his trainer, Shug McGaughey, on Sunday said he welcomed the challenge.
“I hope the target’s really big,” he said at Barn 43 at Churchill Downs. “I want it to be on me. I can take it. I enjoyed this experience, and I’m gonna enjoy the next experience just as much. And if we’re able to pull it off the next time, the target’s gonna get really big, and I want it that way.”
Orb left Churchill Downs on Sunday morning for McGaughey’s barn at Belmont Park, where he will train until heading to Pimlico next Tuesday, May 14. He was expected to go back to the track to train Wednesday. McGaughey said he envisioned working Orb next week either Monday or Tuesday, then vanning to Baltimore.
“I want to get there, settle in, school him in the paddock,” McGaughey said.
McGaughey is not one to oversell his horses, but his confidence in Orb is radiating off him. He has repeatedly said 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” in the Derby.
Both Golden Soul (second in the Derby) and Revolutionary (third) will bypass the Preakness and point to the Belmont, but Derby also-rans Normandy Invasion (fourth), Mylute (fifth), Oxbow (sixth), Will Take Charge (eighth), Itsmyluckyday (15th), Goldencents (17th), and Vyjack (18th) all could try again at Pimlico.
Chad Brown, trainer of Normandy Invasion, initially said he would skip the Preakness but left the race open as possible Monday.
“I said I wouldn’t run in the Preakness, but I’m going to back off of that and really observe the horse and let him tell me,” Brown said.
Normandy Invasion and Vyjack returned to New York on Monday on a flight that also included Goldencents, who immediately was sent by van to Pimlico. Doug O’Neill, trainer of Goldencents, sent I’ll Have Another to Pimlico soon after his Derby win a year ago. I’ll Have Another also won the Preakness.
David Wilkenfeld, owner of Vyjack, said the Derby “took more out of me than the horse.”
“He was blowing harder out of his workouts,” Wilkenfeld said. “I feel like we should give him another shot. Hopefully, he relaxes and runs a more typical race, like he did in the Gotham.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Oxbow and Will Take Charge would remain at Churchill Downs until May 15, entry day for the Preakness, when they would be flown to Maryland.
“I may or may not work them before then,” Lukas said. “If they do work, it’d probably be the Monday or Tuesday before. Definitely not up there. I’ll let them tell me how they’re doing and go from there.”
Will Take Charge, ridden by Jon Court, had perhaps the roughest trip of the entire Derby field when checked sharply in upper stretch behind the tiring Verrazano.
“We had some bad luck there,” Lukas said. “The colt ran a huge race.”
Will Take Charge raced with a small patch on the front wall of his left front hoof.
“He races in glue-on shoes,” Lukas said. “When he was being shod Thursday, a tiny piece of the front wall came out when the nail was pulled. That was nothing. The horse has no foot problems at all.”
Itsmyluckyday was “60-40” to run in the Preakness, according to Eddie Plesa Jr., his trainer and co-owner, who said the horse “looked like he was having a hard time getting a hold of the racetrack right from the start.”
“And when I talked to Elvis,” Plesa said, referring to jockey Elvis Trujillo, “after the race, he said the same thing. It had to be something like that because he trained too well to run so poorly.”
Of the non-Derby runners to enter the Preakness picture, the most intriguing is Departing, the Illinois Derby winner. Departing is co-owned by the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm, with whom the Phipps family, which bred and owns Orb, has been associated for more than 50 years. The Phipps family boards its broodmares at Claiborne, and its top stallions, including the likes of Buckpasser and Easy Goer, have gone to stud at Claiborne, returning to their birthplace.
Because of their history together, Claiborne also is the most likely home of Orb – owned by Phipps Stable and Stuart Janney III – when he eventually goes to stud.
“They’ve said all along they were going to run,” McGaughey said. “Just because the Phippses and Janneys are clients of Claiborne, you can’t deny them that opportunity,”
Departing is scheduled to work this weekend at Churchill, the specific date depending on the weather, trainer Al Stall Jr. said.
– additional reporting by David Grening, Marcus Hersh, Marty McGee, and Mike Welsch
Probable starters for the 2013 Preakness Stakes
|Bellarmine||Ken McPeek||Victor Lebron||CD allowance, 1st|
|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.||Elvis Trujillo||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|
|Vyjack||Rudy Rodriguez||Garrett Gomez||Kentucky Derby, 18th|
|Will Take Charge||D. Wayne Lukas||Jon Court||Kentucky Derby, 8th|
IT IS ABSURD TO ONLY SEND 7 HORSES TO CHALLENGE ORB I MEAN THE TRACK WAS MUDDY & IT LOOKS LIKE THEY GAVE HIM A CLEAR PATH JUST FOR HIM HE IS GOOD HORSE BUT HES NO SECRETARIAT FOLKS THE TRACK IN PILMICO FAVOR FRONT RUNNERS AM HOPING THAT EITHER BOBBY OR PLETCHER WOULD GET INVOLVED OR SOMEBODY AT LEAST LUKAS IS NOT AFRAID OF THE HORSE ORB WHAT A NAME FOLKS ORD?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've seen some standouts running up to and in the KD and up to and into the Preakness. But I'm not convinced with this bunch. No triple crown this year regardless if....and that's a big IF, Orb wins the Preakness.
I've been a california handicapper since the 50's. I always 'want' the cal based horses too win. But Goldencents is not a high caliber horse beyond a mile and a sixteenth. He can't finish. I tossed him after his closing 38 in the SA Derby. How he got a big Beyer for that I dunno. I prefer the Bris Speed myself. No way Goldencents wins the Preakness.
Is ORB a Triple Crown contender...that's what everyone seems to question now. Before it was he's too slow, weak Beyer #'s, weak Ragozin #'s, or he beat weak fields. Now, he wins with a 104 Beyer against 18 foes chasing fast fractions and there is still doubt? Departing looks tough even though he's beat nothing. But given Orb's still gradual progression I see him improving yet again. Shug has our Triple Crown winner. And the colt couldn't be in better hands.
I think Goldencents is the horse to beat in the Preakness. If he loses then he is just another "California" horse that can't handle eastern tracks.
Pimblico.,tiene la pista mas dificil de manejar.,no todos los caballos se acomodan a ella.,suerte para los que compitan y que triunfe el mejor....
Other than ORB this is a bunch of average horse's.Lukas just wants to be on racing shows and in the limelight.He would run a mule in a big race just to be part of the event.Sad that he has reached this level after such a great run.His owners think he has a final trick up his sleeve and let him do what he wants(sad sad sad)
DWL horses should bounce back nicely!! : ) load up on them in the exatas!
correct me if Iam wrong,I think secretariat could close occasionally..
It is interesting Normandy is not in the Preakness. I guess Todd ran out of rabbits and Shanghai is out sunning himself. Julia too busy? Let's hope for a sunny day and a fast track to solve everyone's problems. I am still impressed with Oxbow's heart. Please find him a mile race and the winners circle before you ruin him. Normandy's race is still puzzling and hopefully he goes back to being a closer.
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