Las Vegas, NV - The eyes of the horse racing world will be fixated on Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland next week when the best three year olds in the land line up in the second jewel of the Triple Crown - the 2013 Preakness Stakes. The colts cut back in distance slightly for the Preakness - they go 1 3/16 miles instead of the 1 1/4 miles we saw at the Kentucky Derby. Some of the contenders for the Preakness started well in the Derby but faded down the stretch. Does the shorter distance give them an advantage?
Shug McGaughey trained Orb will obviously be part of the 14 horse field May 19 and in all likelihood he will be the favorite just like he was in the Derby. Outside of Orb none of the entries that have come over from Churchill Downs finished within the top six.
So let's break down the 12 horses named as probables for the $1 million race that comes our way in a little over a week and what could potentially play out in the Preakness.
2013 Preakness Stakes Contenders
Orb 7-5 - A lot of late money came in on Orb at the Kentucky Derby and for good reason. He has now won four straight races - the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/4 lengths, the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 30 at Gulfstream, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 23 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 26. He is the best horse with the best trainer and is in the hands of arguable the best owner for the Preakness. Orb enters with some legitimate swagger!
Normandy Invasion 4-1 - had a second in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial behind Verrazano, a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds February 23 and a good second in the Grade 2 Remsen in November and then finished an OK fourth in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Chad Brown. He hasn't tasted victory since a MSW score in November - his only win in a six race career. He is a nice colt but a win is a tad hard to envision having never recorded a stakes score. **Normandy Invasion has been withdrawn from the 2013 Preakness Stakes**
Goldencents 10-1 - may have been the biggest disappointment of the Derby with his seventeenth place finish as one of the favorites. He has proven to be a contender in the past however - a win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby March 6 showed that he has what it takes against top competition. Will he rebound from his worst career effort and be the horse that has won four of seven starts including three graded stakes scores or will he be the horse that was outclassed at Churchill Downs?
Mylute 10-1 - finished an OK fifth in the Derby after a second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby March 30. He's also had a third in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot November 17 was followed by an Allowance Optional Claiming score December 26, an ugly seventh in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes February 23. He has just one Allowance Optional Claiming score since August on his resume and looks to be outclassed in this the Preakness.
Departing 12-1 - sat out the Kentucky Derby but enters the Preakness as one of the hotter entries - five starts and four wins including the Illinois Derby last time out and the minor Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston March 2. His only career blemish? A third in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby March 30 at Fair Grounds. He has been very good and looks to be an underrated 12-1.
Govenor Charlie 12-1 - started his career with two MSW races - a win at Santa Anita February 17 over the very tough Footbridge after a second in his debut also at Santa Anita January 19. Last time out he made a triumphant graded stakes debut - a win in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park March 24. He is lightly raced but trainer Bob Baffert but an interesting prospect for the Preakness.
2013 Preakness Stakes betting at Pimlico Race Course with OffTrackBetting.com
Itsmyluckyday 12-1 - has been OK lately - a second behind Orb in the Florida Derby followed a win over Shanghai Bobby by two lengths in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes January 26. But he wasn't good in the Derby - a fifteenth place finish took some luster off this colt. he has 11 career starts with 5 wins and recorded a victory as recently as January so Itsmyluckyday has to be on the radar for the Preakness.
Oxbow 15-1 - was an OK sixth in the Derby to follow a fifth in the Arkansas Derby and a good second in the Rebel Stakes. He won the Grade 2 LeComte Stakes in January but has placed in just two of six stakes starts in his career. He will have legendary Gary Stevens in the saddle but his recent form hasn't been all that impressive.
Vyjack 15-1 - won his first four career starts including a pair of graded stakes scores at Aqueduct earlier this year. He then finished third in the Wood Memorial and was eighteenth in the Derby. He had some hype earlier this spring but after an ugly Derby, he last lost a lot of his backers. **Vyjack has been withdrawn from the 2013 Preakness Stakes**
Will Take Charge 15-1 - is a pretty sneaky entry to the Preakness - many feel he is the best value on the board. he was eighth in the Derby after an impressive win in the Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn Park in March. Steve Haskin of BloodHorse.com suggests that Will Take Charge could run alongside Orb, and should be an underrated bet heading into the Preakness. He may not have the results or the experience of some of the other entries but people love his talent and his 15-1 early morning line price!
Titletown Five 30-1 - D. Wayne Lukas pupil had four MSW races with a win, a second and a third place finish before his stakes debut- an OK second in the minor Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn Park February 3. He has not fared all that well against top competition since however - a ninth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March and a fourth last time out in the Grade 3 Derby Trial Stakes April 27.
Street Spice 50-1 - had a second in an Allowance March 24 in his first race since an Allowance Optional Claiming score December 16. Last time out was an OK fifth in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby April 20 at Hawthorne. **Street Spice has been withdrawn from the 2013 Preakness Stakes**