The 2013 Preakness Stakes is approaching fast (Saturday, May 18), and the excitement about the event itself and Kentucky Derby winner Orb’s chase of the elusive Triple Crown has the horse-racing world at a fever pitch.
Orb is trying to win the Triple Crown for the first time since Affirmed in 1978 (35 years), and with the Kentucky Derby victory secured, the next task is the Preakness Stakes.
If Orb were to win on Saturday, he would become only the 34th horse to win both the Derby and the Preakness and would look to join the elite 11 horses that went on to win all three legs of the Triple Crown.
While many doubt Orb's chances, horse-racing insider Laura King believes if Orb can win the Preakness, he has a legitimate chance at winning the trifecta:
Laura King @LauraKingDXB
Orb seems to be impressing ahead of the #Preakness. If he manages to win it then pedigree suggests he'd handle Belmont trip. #TripleCrown.2013-5-13 12:12:33
Most of the pre-race focus has been on Orb thus far, but the talented field will be looking to make a name for themselves by knocking off the favorite (7-5 odds via BoDog) and stopping his attempt at making Triple Crown history.
Saturday is shaping up to be a wild day for the horse-racing community.
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
When: Saturday, May 18
Post Time: 6:20 p.m. ET
Purse: $1 million
Live Stream: NBC Sports
Updated Odds and Entrants
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As of May 13. All horses probable or possible via Horse Racing Nation. All betting information via BoDog.
As horse-racing fans across the world saw at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, Mother Nature and the storms she can bring play a huge role in the outcome of these marquee races.
It looks like rain could be a factor at the 2013 Preakness as well.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 16, 7:50 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
While the chances of an all-out downpour during the Preakness Stakes are still low, the forecast from Weather.com continues to call for rain on the day of the race, possibly making the conditions of the track similar to those of Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.
The 30 percent chance of rain is still not overly concerning, and with the way the weather has been in Baltimore over the last week—storms come and go frequently—the hope that the track at Pimlico will be ready will not be an issue for Saturday’s race.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Tuesday, May 14, 7:30 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
The focus on the Preakness Stakes is through the roof, and as the week progresses, how the weather will react on Saturday has everyone from the ground crew at Pimlico Race Course to the fans at home talking about Mother Nature.
While there was a strong belief that Saturday could see a hefty portion of rain, the most recent forecast calls for a 20-percent chance of precipitation (h/t Weather.com), the lowest forecasted percentage to date and a good sign for the Preakness:
No one wants to see it rain on Saturday, but if there is some precipitation, the hope is that it is well before the start of the races and will subside for long enough to run this important second leg of the Triple Crown.
---End of Update---
Weather.com is reporting that Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore will be facing a 30 percent chance of rain on Saturday during the event, with thunderstorms also possible.
According to Jeff Siegel of Horse Racing TV, there is a serious chance of thunderstorms on the day of the Preakness Stakes:
Jeff Siegel @jsiegelracing
Extended Preakness day forecast - high 82, 60% chance of scattered thundershowers. Forecast will change 20 times between now and then.2013-5-11 22:00:42
Whether the forecasted storm would delay the start of the race is another story, but rain the day of the Preakness Stakes means a moist track regardless of the post time.
While Pimlico may not get as sloppy as Churchill Downs did before the Derby, a wet track would benefit the horses that ran the best in the first leg of the Triple Crown, including Orb.
For more weather updates throughout the week, keep checking back here.
Breaking Down the Preakness
The 2013 Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course is the 138th installment of the storied second leg of the Triple Crown, and while the focus has been on Orb and his pursuit of history, the track itself and the surrounding atmosphere make this event special.
Pimlico itself is the second-oldest horse-racing track in the United States (h/t Pimlico.com), and the importance of the Preakness as one of the three most famous events in American thoroughbred racing makes this race one of the biggest each and every year.
The track is set up perfectly for a speedster like Orb, but some fans and experts are discounting what the favorite is capable of this weekend. As Jeannine Edwards of ESPN is reporting, though, trainer Shug McGaughey is more than happy about the way his horse is handling the pressure and running his practice laps:
Jeannine Edwards @jeanninee12
Trainer Shug McGaughey just worked KY Derby winner #Orb. "It was breathtaking. Gave me cold chills." #Preakness2013-5-13 13:33:01
The hype is even higher for this event now that a serious threat like Orb is hunting the illustrious Triple Crown, but the field has a few names that could give the favorite a serious challenge Saturday.
With Goldencents, Departing and Itsmyluckyday all lower than 10-1 odds, this may be a smaller field (10 horses so far), but the Preakness could have more overall talent than the actual Derby.
While there are a few legitimate challengers to Orb’s attempt at history, Stephen Panus shares that the Derby winner's primary foe, Normandy Invasion, is out of the Preakness:
Stephen Panus @Man_o_PR
Normandy Invasion drops out of Preakness Stakes, leaving Kentucky Derby winner Orb with one less competitor http://t.co/37v55f4Vu12013-5-13 10:18:21
The field is strong this year, and that should result in a great race Saturday. Mother Nature is threatening to make her presence known as well, and adding in the Triple Crown implications, there is little doubt that this will be one of the most exciting sporting events of the year.
Whether you are a hardcore or casual horse-racing fan, you won’t want to miss a second of the wild action at Pimlico Race Course for the 2013 Preakness Stakes.