the past two years, excitement has surrounded the stamina-laden
heroes. There was no question about Animal Kingdom or I'll Have
Another's ability to get the 1 ½ miles of the Belmont Stakes and it
seemed a matter of formality before they were crowned as the first
Triple Crown Champions since 1978. But it was not to be. Animal
Kingdom suffered from a poor ride in the Preakness Stakes, ending his
bid for the Triple Crown. Last year, the frenzy and anticipation of
crowning I'll Have Another reached a climax after the gallant colt
won the Preakness. Unfortunately, the son of Flower Alley was
injured before the Belmont Stakes and retired.
year, fervor is growing as the Preakness
draws closer. As the racing world knows, Orb
was the clear, decisive winner of the 2013 Kentucky Derby by 2 ½
lengths over Golden
Many racing fans feel that the Preakness may be the toughest race of
the series for Orb due to his late-running closing style. However,
the son of Malibu Moon was ensconced in mid-pack in the Florida Derby
before knocking them off with his powerful late run to earn his first
Derby title. Orb will ride a five race win streak into the Preakness
and he's the horse to beat.
the trainers of nine other colts aren't convinced of Orb's
superiority. Golden Soul and Revolutionary,
the closest finishers to Orb in the Derby, will bypass the Preakness
and point for the Belmont Stakes. Six Derby contenders that had a
good view of Orb's muddy hindquarters in Kentucky will hope for a
dryer track and better racing luck in the Preakness.
new shooters will also attempt to spoil Orb's Triple Crown bid.
Let’s take a closer look at the newcomers and to see who might
present a legitimate threat to upset the applecart. The extended
weather forecast for the Preakness calls for 50% chance of rain on
Friday and 40% chance of thunderstorms on race day, so we once again
may see a wet track.
owns a speed over stamina pedigree. War Front, a sprinting son of
Danzig, is also the sire of UAE Derby victor Lines of Battle.
Departing's distaff family is filled with Claiborne-bred stakes
winners. His unraced dam is a full sister to the stakes winner Laity.
She's also a half sister to multiple G-3 winner Trip and also a half
sister to the dam of multiple G-1 winning sprinter Zensational.
Departing is a winner at 1 1/8 miles and the Preakness distance is
within his scope.
has won four of five starts. He had an excuse for his loss in the
Louisiana Derby, when he was four and five wide on the turns. Still,
he managed to gain third place. He has the pedigree to handle the
distance and in previous races, he's displayed a mid-pack running
style, which is beneficial in the Preakness. Ironically, Departing
and Orb were pasture buddies as yearlings and Departing has a strong
chance to upset Orb's chances in the race.
Charlie has a classy pedigree. Although his second crop sire Midnight
Lute was a two-time Sprint Champ, he had the size (17 hands) and
pedigree to be a two-turn runner. A breathing problem kept Midnight
Lute from fulfilling this promise, although his undeniable talent
made him unbeatable in two Breeders' Cup Sprints. Midnight Lute is
an aspiring young stallion. Besides Govenor Charlie, he'll also be
represented in the Preakness by sixth place Derby finisher Mylute.
Charlie's dam Silverbulletway is an unraced daughter of the Hall of
Fame Champion Silverbulletday. The fabulous mare was the best of her
generation, earning Eclipse Awards at ages two and three. Among her
accomplishments, Silverbulletday captured the Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Fillies (G-1), Kentucky Oaks (G-1), Ashland and Alabama Stakes, both
Grade 1 contests. She won from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 ¼ miles.
Govenor Charlie showed
a high cruising speed in the Sunland Derby yet set a new track record
for 1 1/8 miles while defeating an average group of colts by over
five lengths. How much of that was horse and how much track grooming?
On the same day, his stablemate set a new record for 1 1/16 miles in
the Sunland Oaks, so you be the judge. He enters the Preakness with
only three preps and 55 days since his last race. His on the lead
running style is a hindrance in the Preakness, as only one horse in
the last twelve years has wired the field. Last year trainer Bob
Baffert came very close to spoiling I'll Have Another's Preakness
party with the front running Bodemeister. He'll try to do the same
thing this year with a fresher Govenor Charlie.
Titletown Five has a
stamina over speed pedigree. His two-time Horse of the Year sire has
carried his class to the breeding shed. Over the years, he's sired 38
stakes winners, including Travers victor Colonel John, Belmont Stakes
winner Da'Tara, and Dubai World Cup hero Well Armed.
Titletown Five's dam D'
Wildcat Speed was a Grade 1 stakes winner in Puerto Rico. She was
victorious up to 1 3/16 miles. D' Wildcat Speed successfully
transferred her class to the US, winning the 1 1/8 miles Rampart
Stakes (G-2). Titletown Five's damsire is noted for siring
precocious sprinters. As a broodmare sire, he's represented by three
stakes winners at 1 1/8 miles and two at 1 ¼ miles. Titletown Five
appears to have the pedigree to win at 1 3/16 miles, however, both
his damsire and second damsire Pentaquod are sprinters and he's
failed to win past seven furlongs.
Titletown Five is a cut
below the best. Actually, he's a cut below the second best too. He
showed some promise sprinting as a two year old, but his three year
old form is poor. He and his stablemate Oxbow may ensure a fast pace
in the Preakness.
The Preakness is loaded with early speed. Govenor Charlie, Titletown Five, Oxbow,
Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday and Vyjack all prefer to lead or press the
pace. This sets it up for Orb,
Departing, Mylute, and Will Take Charge - the mid-pack runners and closers. Of the three new faces in
the Preakness, Departing appears to have the best shot of
ruining Orb's triple crown journey.
If you want to learn
more about individual Preakness contenders, including thorough
pedigree, surface and overall ratings, check out the Preakness E-book
sold in conjunction with the Super