Preakness is Right for Orb

Orb wins Derby

Kentucky Derby winner Orb is primed to win the Preakness Saturday.

‘‘He’s really settled in well. He seems to be energetic about what he’s doing so I couldn’t be more pleased,’’ trainer Shug McGaughey said on Friday morning. ‘‘We’re excited about giving him a whirl to see if we can get it done and go on to the next step.’’

Orb’s win on May 4th was his fifth consecutive victory.  He has continually improved, and his win coming from the outside at the Derby proved he has no problem coming from behind.  And he has fewer rivals in the Preakness.  He will need to defeat only 8 other horses in the 1 3/16 mile track.  Then it’s onto the Belmont, and a chance at the ‘triple crown’.

‘‘We’d sure love to have that opportunity,’’ said McGaughey. ‘‘Probably the racing world would love to see it, too. It brings a lot more attention to what we’re doing from all standpoints.’’

He does have doubters.  He is starting on the rail, a difficult position to come from in the Preakness.  In Saturday’s race, Orb will break from the No. 1 post, a spot that has seen only one winner, Tabasco Cat in 1994, since 1961.  And detractors are also quick to point out that horses that had difficulty in the mud of Churchill Downs, may fare better on Saturday.

‘‘Who knows how this race is going to go, but I don’t think it will be a problem,’’ jockey Joel Rosario said of the inside post. ‘‘He’s a horse that comes from behind, so I really don’t think it will affect him. I’m just excited to go into this with a horse who has a chance to win.’’

Most experts do agree that he is the best horse in the field.

‘‘Orb, he’s a freak. Right now, everybody should be rooting for Orb, except for the connections of the other horses in the race,’’ trainer Bob Baffert said, and he’s got a horse in the race, 12-1 choice Govenor Charlie. ‘‘Anybody who’s not rooting for Orb, there’s something mentally wrong with them.’’

His major competitor is considered to be Goldencents, who placed 17th in the slop of the Derby.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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