After taking care of business in easy fashion over a sloppy track in the Kentucky Derby, Orb now is one-third of the way to Triple Crown stardom with the Preakness coming up Saturday.
Even though Orb was helped by a favorable set-up at Churchill Downs due to fast early fractions and the sloppy track, look for the Derby favorite to once again be the betting choice in Baltimore this time at odds of 7-5.
Can Orb bounce back off short rest and grab the second leg of the Triple Crown?
Well, one of the aforementioned aspects that assisted him in the Derby will definitely be on display in the Preakness, and that is a quick early pace,
Not many folks expected Palace Malice to gun to the lead in 22 2/5 and 45 1/5 seconds in the Derby, but similar fractions are expected in the Preakness with the likes of Goldencents, Titletown Five and Govenor Charlie all vying for the initial lead.
After failing to reach the top at Churchill Downs and eventually finishing 17th, Goldencents will be more of a pace factor on Saturday. Nevertheless, look for similar results because he will have to battle Titletown Five in the early going.
The D. Wayne Lukas 3-year-old is expected to go right to the top not only to help out his other two stablemates, but because racing near the front is the only way this horse knows how to run. Titletown Five went head-and-head with longshot Hip Four Sixtynine in the Louisiana Derby through blazing fractions of 22 4/5 and 46 1/5 and wound up finishing ninth
The other horse that will be help set the early pace is Govenor Charlie. The Bob Baffert-trained colt has been on the lead after the first half-mile in each of his last two races. The first one was a maiden victory at Santa Anita and the second was a five-length score in the Sunland Park Derby.
Govenor Charlie had some foot issues after the win in New Mexico, which made it almost impossible for him to be ready in time for the Kentucky Derby. However, after a gorgeous 1:11 2/5 bullet work at Churchill Downs on May 7, it appears he is back to his old self.
Given the fact another brisk pace is expected look for Orb to be flying down the stretch for a sixth consecutive victory.
THE MAIN CHALLENGERS
Outside of Govenor Charlie, there are only a handful of upset possibilities. One of them is Departing.
As is the case with Govenor Charlie, Departing did not race in the Kentucky Derby and "new shooters" rarely win the Preakness. In fact, only three of them since 1984 (Rachel Alexandra, Bernardini and Red Bullet) have won the second leg of the Triple Crown. Nonetheless, five others have finished second in the last 11 runnings, so either Govenor Charlie or Departing could round out the exacta.
Departing ran well while finishing third in the Louisiana Derby. The gelding was blocked through the stretch on a couple of occasions, which caused him to finish three lengths behind Mylute for second. In his next start, the son of War Front disposed of 13 other 3-year-olds in the Illinois Derby while racing five-wide for much of the race.
Two other horses besides Departing and Govenor Charlie to keep an eye on are Mylute and Will Take Charge. The former closed well for fifth in the Derby, missing third by a neck. The latter ran eighth but could have finished second with a cleaner trip.
Mylute went off at 15-1 in the Derby primarily because of jockey Rosie Napravnik. However, the son of Midnight Lute is an accomplished colt that ran second by a neck to Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby. He has won just two races in 10 career efforts, so don't waste your money betting him to win. On the flip side, he has hit the board in seven of those 10 races, so keep him in mind for exotic wagers.
Will Take Charge has finished first or second in half of his lifetime starts, but his most impressive race came when he ran eighth in the Kentucky Derby. He was running stride for stride with Orb around the far turn but got stalled behind a fading Verrazano heading into the stretch. The momentum lost cost him a chance for an in-the-money finish.
Orb looks best and it will take a tremendous effort for another horse to hit the wire first. Given that, you can go one of two ways with a $100 bankroll.
Bet four $25 exactas with Orb on top of Departing, Mylute, Will Take Charge and Govenor Charlie, or bet an $8 trifecta with Orb/Departing, Mylute, Will Take Charge and Govenor Charlie/Departing, Mylute, Will Take Charge and Govenor Charlie. That wager comes to $96. With the other $4, bet a $1 trifecta of Orb/Departing/Will Take Charge, Mylute, Govenor Charlie and Goldencents.