The 2013 Kentucky Derby was a roaring success for some horses and a bitter disappointment for others, yet all will come to the Preakness Stakes this year with an equal chance of victory.
What isn't equal, however, is the perception surrounding them all.
Orb will be the firm favorite following his triumph at Churchill Downs; Verrazano will likely be in contention once more given his successful career.
Yet many horses (and potential contenders) won't receive the same recognition that they should in the build-up to the prestigious event.
They won't be backed with the same public support or be listed as favorites in the odds market like the horses mentioned above, but that's not to suggest that they aren't capable of strong performances on the Pimlico Race Course on May 18.
Which under-the-radar horses will thrive at the 2013 Preakness Stakes?
Read on and find out.
Will Take Charge
With two victories at Oaklawn Park in 2013 over a shorter distance than the Kentucky Derby, it's hard to see anything but a strong showing for Will Take Charge.
His win at the Rebel Stakes showed that he's more than capable of getting to the winning post first in a strong field, and with a firmer, faster track at Pimlico, he's bound to be a big player—providing he can get out of the gates well and stay out of traffic.
Having elite jockey Jon Court on board should help that, and with great speed from his pedigree, look for Will Take Charge to be a genuine surprise on race day.
Departing might not have run at the 2013 Kentucky Derby, but he'll certainly be a big player at the Preakness Stakes this year. According to Chris Korman of the Baltimore Sun, Departing will definitely feature at the big race, and having already stormed to victory at the Illinois Derby, you'd have to think that he'll definitely be suited to the shorter track here.
He has won his first two starts in New Orleans in impressive fashion, and showed at the Louisiana Derby that he is capable of mixing it with some of the strongest horses in contention this year—running third to Revolutionary and Mylute, who both finished in the top five at Churchill Downs.
That defeat was Departing's only loss in his five starts, so look for him to be a definite contender in the big race, especially with Brian Hernandez Jr. on board.
It might be a little strange to consider Goldencents as an "under-the-radar" horse, but after his disappointing run at the 2013 Kentucky Derby, he's definitely flying under the radar at the moment.
And that may well be enough to see him home here.
It's easy to say that the sloppy conditions at Churchill Downs affected his performance, but for Goldencents, that statement is a distinct reality.
He showed he could win on perfect conditions at the Santa Anita Derby a month before the Derby, and if he can produce that form at the Preakness Stakes, then he'll have a huge chance at victory on the day.
As I documented previously, Kevin Krigger pulled Goldencents up very early in the Derby, which explains a great deal of which he finished so far back.
This is not a 17th-place horse, but a potential champion, and one who could make that a reality when the field takes off at Pimlico Race Course.
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