2013 Preakness Stakes Handicapping: Early Look
by Trevor Whenham - 5/6/2013
There will be plenty of changes between now and post time of the Preakness on Saturday, May 18. At this point, though, it doesn’t seem like the very impressive Kentucky Derby win by Orb has scared too many people off — other than Todd Pletcher. Pletcher had five horses in the 20-horse Derby field, but he is planning to send none to Pimlico.
He should be back for the Belmont, though. He’s aiming Derby third-place finisher Revolutionary for that race and is talking about sending two fillies from the Kentucky Oaks — Dreaming of Julia and Unlimited Budget — there as well. Surprise Derby runner-up Golden Soul is being pointed to the Belmont as well.
Here’s a quick look at what the field could look like in the second leg of the Triple Crown to get a jump on 2013 Preakness Stakes handicapping. As things stand now, we should see 10-12 runners, and it should be a pretty decent field — though Orb will be a strong favorite barring an unforeseen development:
The Derby winner is more than ready to go again, according to trainer Shug McGaughey. The post-time favorite ran a brilliant Derby and looked to be clearly the best — and not just because of the track conditions or the suicidal early pace. He’s going to be tough to beat in the Preakness.
The fourth-place horse in the Derby is being considered for the Preakness. It is still more likely he skips the race, though. Trainer Chad Brown initially said he would miss the race but has since reconsidered. His Derby was solid — he was in front in the stretch before being chased down — and he came out of it well, so I’d really like to see him in Baltimore.
There was nothing embarrassing about Mylute’s fifth-pace Derby finish, and he deserves another shot. Trainer Tom Amoss wants to work the horse on Wednesday before making a decision, but if he looks good in that light work you can expect to see him run.
Oxbow and Will Take Charge
D. Wayne Lukas saddled the sixth- and eighth-place finishers in the Derby. Both horses were impressive. Oxbow was the only horse to really survive the ridiculously fast early pace, and Will Take Charge was moving forward nicely down the stretch until running into a rapidly reversing Verrazano. Lukas is as old school as they come, so it is no surprise that he is planning to stay on the trail with both horses. If they were sound they were likely running again.
Contrary to his name, the first Saturday in May was far from his lucky day. In fact, it was a disaster. He’s much better than he ran that day, though, and if he trains well upon returning to Monmouth Park on Tuesday you’ll likely see him in the Preakness.
The Santa Anita Derby was absolutely crushed by the early pace and was lucky that he only dropped to 17th at the wire. It was a terrible outing and far worse than was expected for the front-runner since Palace Malice wasn’t expected to set such a crazy pace. Trainer Doug O’Neill is just pretending the race never happened, though. The horse headed to Pimlico on Monday and will look to benefit from a far more honest pace next time.
The 18th-place finisher only really ran half the Derby. He didn’t handle the crowd well at all and ran away from jockey Garrett Gomez when the gates opened. Gomez finally got him under control about halfway through the race and all but eased him up. The Pimlico crowd is slightly more tame, so trainer Rudy Rodriguez seems to be leaning towards trying again.
The Sunland Derby winner looked to be Bob Baffert’s last Derby hope this year, but a minor foot bruise stymied those plans. He seems to have recovered and should be targeted towards Baltimore. Baffert is a Triple Crown addict, so I can’t imagine him sitting out two races in a row unless he absolutely has to.
This Ken McPeek-trained horse wasn’t in the Derby, but he ran at Churchill Downs on the day. He won an allowance race on the Derby undercard in solid fashion, and that was enough to have him pointed towards the Preakness to make his Stakes debut. He is lightly-raced but has plenty of talent and solid breeding.
There is a little bit of friendly rivalry behind the Illinois Derby runner and his potential inclusion in the Preakness. He is owned by the legendary Claiborne Farms, home to many of the world’s top stallions through the years. Stuart Janney and the Phipps family, who own Orb and will likely have him live his stud life at Claiborne, have long been clients of Claiborne.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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