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HRN Original Blog:
The Kentucky Derby Post

Preakness 2013: A Deep Closer Approach Can Be Risky

In 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.
Now 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.
But, 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. 
Giacomo, 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?
Giacomo - 2005 Preakness Field: 14
PP Start 1/4 1/2 3/4 Str Finish
13 11 11 11 10 5 3
Street Sense - 2007 Preakness Field: 9
PP Start 1/4 1/2 3/4 Str Finish
8 5 8 8 7 1 2

Mine That Bird - 2009 Preakness Field: 13
PP Start 1/4 1/2 3/4 Str Finish
2 13 13 13 11 4 2
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.
There 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.
This 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.
Where 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?


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Older Comments about Preakness 2013: A Deep Closer Approach Can Be Risky...

He just worked 47 and change...what does that tell you and he did it effortously...He picked up 3 yer old champion Shaghai bobby and laid him to rest and won from way behind in the derby after a 1:09 and change i you don't think he is the real deal then I don't know what to tell you
think back to your hugh school days...Did you bounce? I never did: worked 16 hours, slep 2 and then at it again until midnight the next day..These animals are adolescents remember
Yes, Goldencents.
What about the "bounce" factor? And did any of Orb's foes fail to do their best because of the slop?
ace of their lives. Gov Charlie and Departingwill not be a walk in the park.
Orb has the versatility to fit what is happening in the Preakness and that is why he will win. See my post on Preakness Winning Running Styles.
I don't expect him to better than 7th early on, but watch him roll on the far turn.

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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer – Chicago, IL


Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park, Henderson, KY. 


Likewise, the first Saturday in May was always a celebrated family event. In 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance and since, I have made it an annual tradition because there’s no other city, or weekend, in the racing world like Louisville, KY on Derby Day. 


Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, a champions trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. The coverage begins when Juvenile season starts and continues until the field is set, the picks are in and the roses are earned. 



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