The 2013 Preakness Stakes will commence on Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, Md., and after the 1 3/16 mile race is over, we will know if the Triple Crown is still in tact for the Belmont Stakes.
Saturday is poised to be a thrilling battle of horses at Pimlico Race Course.
It's the 138th time that the track has hosted the event, and each time it comes on the heels of the events at Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Many have won the Derby, but very few have been able to win two races in a row by winning the Preakness Stakes.
Even fewer also win the Belmont, but that's a story we will cover in June.
Derby champion Orb will be starting in post No. 1 and will headline the nine-horse field on Saturday afternoon. He gave trainer Shug McGaughey his first-ever Derby champion on May 4, but can provide a far greater level of excitement if he wins the Preakness, too.
Predictions are lining up for how the field will shake out, and there will be no shortage of those predictions here. Check out the sections below for the field layout, a horse preview and a prediction of how the entire field will shake out when the final horse crosses the finish line at Pimlico.
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Md.
When: Saturday, May 18
Post Time: 6:20 p.m. ET
Purse: $1 million
Television: NBC Sports Network
2013 Preakness Stakes Layout
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario||Claude McGaughey||1-1|
|2||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||8-1|
|3||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux ||D. Wayne Lukas||30-1|
|4||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Albert M. Stall Jr.||6-1|
|5||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||5-1|
|6||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||15-1|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||12-1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||12-1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr. ||10-1|
* Current odds can be found at DRF.com.
Horses to Watch
Orb is the Derby winner; therefore, he will be the horse with the most bets, eyes and expectations at the Preakness on Saturday.
Winner of five straight races and getting better by the week, Orb continues to impress observers, trainers and media members alike with his ability to breeze through gallops and prove that his Derby performance was no fluke.
Of course, the real proving ground will be Pimlico Race Course at around 6:20 p.m. ET.
Orb drew the inside post on Wednesday afternoon, and the odds will certainly be against him. Only two horses have won from post No. 1 since 1961, and Orb won the Derby from an outside gate (No. 16).
Still, there's not a horse at the stables in Baltimore right now that continually takes the breath away from viewers like Orb does. As Pat Forde notes, even McGaughey is taken aback by his horse's performances in training sessions:
Even money odds right now, Orb will likely pull in even less money than that when final post odds are announced in the aftermath of the race. He's the favorite for a reason, and he'll have a chance to back up his Derby claims with another win on Saturday.
Kevin Krigger and Doug O'Neill arrived early in Baltimore to help iron out the kinks with what happened to Goldencents at Churchill Downs, and so far, Goldencents remains an odds-on favorite for the win at 8-1.
As reported by David Grening of Daily Racing Forum, O'Neill changed up Goldencents' training regimen this week to help get him back to his peak form, and hopefully the change will help set his horse straight on Saturday.
Operating in post No. 2, Goldencents must find a way to get to the rail before Orb but also avoid losing pace before the finish line like he did in the Derby.
With only nine horses to contend with noticeably better conditions than what Saturday provided at Churchill Downs, expect Goldencents to avoid another letdown and be in the mix around the final turn at Pimlico.
After being one of the early, sleeper favorites for the Derby, Itsmyluckyday finished in a distant 15th, as jockey Elvis Trujillo couldn't mount a late comeback to contend with the rest of the field.
As such, he is being replaced for the second leg of the Triple Crown, and a Hall of Fame jockey will take over in his place, as reported by Tim Wilkin:
Winner of the Holy Bull Stakes, Itsmyluckyday has a solid pedigree that includes Seattle Slew and expects to be in contention well above the bottom-third finish that came through at the Derby in early May.
Operating out of the No. 9 post, Itsmyluckyday will be the outermost horse in the field, but with only nine horses entered in the race, it might not turn out to be quite the disadvantage that horses like Java's War and Vyjack felt at the Derby.
Jay Privman is among those who feel that Itsmyluckyday is a great bet for those looking to boom or bust their pockets this weekend:
Itsmyluckyday won't be the favorite, but if he can get back to his former pace, don't be surprised if we see an in-the-money finish from Velazquez on Saturday afternoon.
|6||Will Take Charge||7|
Follow Ethan Grant on Twitter: