Orb Draws Rail in Preakness Stakes
Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable's Orb , winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), drew post 1 and was made the even-money favorite for the May 18 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the second leg of the Triple Crown.
A field of nine was entered for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness. There was little concern over post positions from the connections after the May 15 post draw at Pimlico Race Course.
The last winner from post 1 was Tabasco Cat in 1994; before that, Bally Ache won from the rail in 1960. But Orb, a Malibu Moon colt trained by Shug McGaughey, was victorious from post 1 in the 1 1/16-mile Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) against eight foes at Gulfstream Park earlier this year.
"He won the Fountain of Youth from (post 1)," McGaughey said. "His first race was from post 1, and he finished third in a very good race. Obviously if I was going to pick the post, I wouldn't have picked post 1. But with only nine horses in there and with a rider like Joel (Rosario), he's going to figure out what to do.
"He'll have him in the right spot. I'm looking forward to Saturday afternoon. We've got an even-money shot in the Preakness. What more could I ask for?"
The potential speed in the Preakness is spread out in the starting gate, with Goldencents from post 2, Titletown Five from post 3, Oxbow from post 6, and Govenor Charlie from post 8. Itsmyluckyday , who has some early gas but prefers to stalk, drew post 9.
"It's my lucky number nine," said Eddie Plesa, who trains Itsmyluckyday for Triology Stable and Laurie Plesa. "I feel good about it. I'm going to leave it up to (jockey) John Velazquez. We've got tactical speed, and he's got the wherewithal to put this horse where he wants, we'll just see what develops inside of us. I like the outside for this race."
Itsmyluckyday, 15th in the Kentucky Derby, finished second to Orb in the March 30 Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I).
Goldencents, owned by W.C. Kenney, Dave Kenny, and Rick Pitino's RAP Racing, finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby but apparently didn't care for the racing surface. He arrived a Pimlico several days after that effort and has taken to the Pimlico dirt.
"We weren't overly concerned (with post 2)," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "Our main focus is on the horse being healthy and doing good. In a nine-horse field, number two is perfect. Going from 19 (horses in the Kentucky Derby) to nine is a huge help to all these horses.
"We think the track (at Churchill Downs) wasn't to our liking, and you look at his Santa Anita Derby effort (victory) and anything close to that puts him right there. And he loves the track."
Said Kevin Krigger, who will ride the son of Into Mischief : "He has won out of the two hole before, so it is nothing new to him."
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has three entered in the Preakness, said he can't make an excuse for any of the post positions.
"We will do whatever we have to do to get a position (with Oxbow from post 6)," the Hall of Famer said. "At this point, we are not going to change what we do. We will let the riders loose and let them decide. You can't determine where you're going to be; the other guys have some ideas about that, too.
"I don't know that the rail (for Orb) is all that bad. Orb is not going to be forwardly placed. He will save ground. So it is not all that bad. But I don't have to worry about that."
Mike Pegram's Govenor Charlie, winner of the Sunland Derby (gr. III) in his last start March 24, drew post 8. He sat just off a quick pace in the 1 1/8-mile Sunland Derby before taking the lead and drawing off by five lengths.
"Great draw for (Govenor Charlie)," trainer Bob Baffert said on Twitter. "It's going to be a great race."
GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm's Mylute, second choice on the morning line at 5-1, drew post 5, which is fine with GoldMark Farm general manager Todd Quast. Mylute rallied for fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
"We're ecstatic about it," Quast said. "With this horse it doesn't matter much, but it sure is nice being inside, a little bit toward the middle, and then having Orb and Departing inside of us."
Illinois Derby (gr. III) winner Departing, owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, drew post 4 and was listed as the 6-1 third choice on the Preakness morning line.
"Everything is fine," trainer Al Stall Jr. said. "There are only nine horses, so the position isn't that important."
The Preakness is race 12 on a 13-race program that begins at 10:45 a.m. EDT. Post time for the Preakness is scheduled for 6:20 p.m.
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