LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The early stages of Saturday's Preakness Stakes could be very interesting. What kind of trip will develop for Derby winner Orb from that number one post position?
Right out of the Pimlico starting gate, Goldencents from post two and Titletown Five from post three will likely contend for the early lead. From their outside posts, frontrunners Governor Charlie and Itsmyluckyday will probably try to move quickly too toward the rail to keep from having to race wide on the clubhouse turn. I would expect jockey Joel Rosario aboard Orb to be content to let that foursome speed away, dropping back near the back of the pack.
Then down the backstretch, the key for Rosario will be not to get boxed in along the rail to allow Orb to have some options to be able to swing to the outside if necessary. The jockeys riding mid-pack runners like Departing and Oxbow will be keeping their eye out for Orb, trying to figure out when to make their key moves.
As the field approaches the far turn, I would expect Goldencents to be on the lead, with Oxbow close by. This is where the fun could begin as Rosario will then push the button, to motivate Orb to fire as he has done throughout his winning streak. Goldencents has to be better than he was at Churchill, and Oxbow is a gritty runner who tries hard all the time. Orb will have to run them down, and there's no reason to think he won't.
In just two weeks, the colt has gone from a mild favorite for the Kentucky Derby to a huge favorite for the Preakness. He seems to be getting better with each outing and his trainer, Shug McGaughey believes his colt continues to move forward after that solid performance at Churchill Downs.
Orb's final Preakness tune-up, his workout earlier this week at Belmont, was indeed impressive. It looks like his Run for the Roses has left plenty in the tank for Baltimore.
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