05/06/2013 4:06PM

Preakness Stakes: Orb might face seven Kentucky Derby rivals, newcomer Departing

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Barbara D. Livingston
Orb (left), won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday for his fifth consecutive victory and might face seven runners from that race May 18 in the Preakness.

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.”

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

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

Horse Trainer Jockey Last race/finish
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