Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Friday's Advanced wagering on Preakness 2013 didn't have too many surprises with one notable exception. Let's take a look at what these odds mean, and I'll start with my top three...
# 1 Orb (4-5) - The head honcho, the big chief. He's the horse we are all wanting to see move one step closer to the elusive Triple Crown. Personally, I like his chances. It seems to me his development is starting to leave the others behind, and his thriving appearance has not diminished one iota since Derby Day. Like it or not, 4-5 is what I expected, and is pretty commensurate with his chances to add the Preakness to his growing list of accomplishments.
# 4 Departing (11-1) - The one true overlay in the field, Departing is the horse I believe is worth taking a shot on. He is showing steady improvement in his brief career, and trainer, Al Stall knows he has more racehorse than he had just one month ago. He will need that rapid improvement to tackle Orb, but if he gets the jump on him on the turn, or if Orb does not run his best today, I believe this is the one that can end the Triple Crown dreams. His odds are certainly right.
# 6 Oxbow (14-1) - My long shot selection for the race is not much higher than my clear second choice, so I'd have to say these odds don't excite me. Oxbow is like the little engine that could, and assuming the Derby did not take too much out of him, I think he will run another good one here. I do believe, however; that he is much more in play to fill out the bottom spots in the exotics, rather than the win spot.
Now let's take a look at the remainder of the Preakness field in order of how they are bet...
# 5 Mylute (7-1) - I'm not sure if he will be the second choice solely on the Rosie factor or not, but 7-1, or possibly lower by the time the race is run, is a little too low for my taste. I do like this horse to an extent, and his last two races are very good, but the fact remains, he will likely have to beat Orb at his own game, and that just doesn't seem a very likely outcome in my eyes.
# 2 Goldencents (7-1) - I was on record saying he would not win the Derby, and he was my biggest underlay that day. His performance was worse than I expected, and can be partially attributed to the slop, but with a contested pace expected here, I really don't like him much better today. The West Coast three-year-olds just aren't that good this year. He is a big underlay.
# 9 Itsmyluckyday (9-1) - If you can completely draw a line through the Kentucky Derby, and he likes the outside post and the Pimlico strip, I could see a case being made for this one. But at 9-1, he is too low for me to want to go ahead and find out if those things may be true.
# 8 Govenor Charlie (11-1) - See Goldencents comment.
# 7 Will Take Charge (12-1) - Considering the trouble he had in Louisiville, I believe he does have at least a punters chance today. I definitely like him better than some bet below him here, but 12-1 seems just about right.
# 3 Titletown Five (23-1) - I consider the third Lukas entrant to be the rank outsider in the field. His impact on the field should only be in the early stages. I don't like him at just about any odds, but if you do, at least you are getting almost double anyone else.
Good luck to all!