the days and weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby the discussion regarding the racing
style of the top contenders always comes up. It’s a fun conversation so
let’s carry it into Preakness 2013. In recent years the winner of the Preakness Stakes would be described as either a Stalker, Front Runner or sometimes Closer. As for the Deep Closer that's a style that brings us to one important horse in particular, the 2013 Kentucky Derby Champion Orb.
before I go any further let me begin by stating that I think Orb has a better
shot at the Triple Crown then the horses I’m about to compare him to.
Furthermore, I believe that Orb is versatile enough to win from anywhere off
the pace. His closer style of racing has taken him this far so I think that it
can take him to the winners circle at Pimlico as well.
since I am rooting for Orb there is one style of racing that makes me just a
little bit nervous. I know he used it against the 19 horse field in the
Kentucky Derby and it worked like a charm. However, I am somewhat weary about a
deep close in the Preakness Stakes. I know that if Orb is destined to rewrite
history then this will not be an issue. Nevertheless, recent history does not
side with Kentucky Derby winners when they revert back to a deep close approach
in the Preakness Stakes. Winning the roses from well off the pace can work but
doing it again two weeks later has been less profitable.
Street Sense and Mine That Bird all have one thing in common with Orb. At the ¾
pole on the first Saturday in May none of these Kentucky Derby winners were racing
better than 17th place. Of course all of them were racing in perfect
position at that point as they began to pick the field apart one by one en
route to victory.
As for their attempt at scoring the second jewel, did the deep closer
style of racing prevent them from winning?
Too little, too late? There
are a lot of other factors in each of these races that contributed to the
outcomes. The eventual winner also had a lot to do with it. So, I won’t assume
that these races were lost by the Kentucky Derby champion and not won by the
Preakness champion. Therefore, I also won’t assume that Orb isn’t capable of
prevailing on Saturday with the same style of racing that he used in the
Kentucky Derby. It may be risky but, in my opinion, Orb is the superior horse.
If anyone can close from deep in the shortest of the three Triple Crown races,
he might be the one.
is something else about this colt that I like. The way he dominated the
Kentucky Derby was pretty special but the fact he has proven to be so resourceful may be what defines him the most. Although it will make nervous if he tries to close
from deep I don’t really think that he will. Regardless of the pace in the Preakness
Stakes I think you will find Orb racing closer to the front instead. From there
he will be in perfect striking distance as they round the final turn. Not only
will he be able to move ahead of anyone racing in front but he will also fend off any challengers trying to close from behind.
style of racing is something that we saw from Orb down at Gulfstream Park prior
to the Kentucky Derby. In both of his wins in the Fountain of Youth and Florida
Derby, Orb was racing mid pack behind modest fractions before he circled four
wide and powered home down the stretch. It is those two races that convince me
that Orb, along with Joel Rosario, will be able to race comfortably from this
position and still put the field away in convincing fashion. But, that’s
just my opinion.
does everyone else think Orb will close from - deep or mid pack? Do you agree
that he is versatile enough to handle it or do you think that if he gets caught too
far back it will be the end of his Triple Crown attempt just like the recent
deep closers before him?