ELMONT, NY, May 13, 2013—With one eye on Derby accomplishment and the other on Saturday’s Preakness, a mixed signals view of the 2013 sophomore class in the HRI Triple Crown Power Ratings, Week 10.
Orb, as previously stated, has the best chance to sweep the Triple Crown since Spectacular Bid in 1979. (Sorry, Smarty, there just were those nagging mile and-a-half doubts. It turned out that you got the distance, your rider, not so much).
With Shug McGaughey Malibu Moon colt shipping to Maryland as this is being written, eight are lining up against him--if Vyjack is numbered among them. As of now, that will be an entry-time decision.
A Maryland contact trying to acquire seats for the Preakness was informed late last week that the event was entirely sold out. There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.
But given the Derby’s strong handle figures and TV ratings, everybody seems interested, apparently even the casual fans. Either the Derby points system was a resounding success or there’s something mystical about the Preakness favorite.
He just might be the lunatic Triple Crown fans have been waiting for. Here’s a closer look:
1. ORB is on schedule for the Preakness, if Monday morning’s workout was any indication. Beneath exercise rider Jennifer Patterson, Orb worked a sharp half-mile in 47.18 after an opening quarter in 24:47, galloping out five-eighths in 59.54 on a fast Belmont main track. “I thought it was breathtaking,” said Shug McGaughey, it sent chills up my back,” a Hall of Famer not known for his use of hyperbole.
2. REVOLUTIONARY is at Belmont Park taking five weeks off as he awaits the Triple Crown’s third leg and looks for possible chinks in the favorite’s armor. If Todd Pletcher saw Orb’s workout; he might start thinking Haskell right now. A question: If the Preakness were run on, say, on Memorial Day instead, would Revolutionary try to improve on his troubled Derby third-place in Baltimore? I’m just asking.
3. NORMANDY INVASION jumped off the fence and back into his Belmont Park shed, his connections erring on the side of caution. “Two weeks is a little quick coming back,” said owner Rick Porter of his athletic but light-framed colt. “He needs to put some weight back on so we decided to wait." “Chad knows his horse,” said McGaughey when asked about the defection. “He’s from up there so I’m sure the Travers means a huge amount to him, is it would to anyone,” McGaughey said of the Mechanicville, NY native.
4. GOLDEN SOUL, like the third and fourth-place Derby finishers, will watch this one on TV in his Belmont Park stall. Trainer Dallas Stewart said immediately after the Derby that five weeks between races suited his horse better. I wonder if dug-in traditionalists still believe the present schedule makes it harder for a horse to win the Triple Crown than one allowing more time between classics.
5. GOLDENCENTS will not have a timed Preakness workout. Last year, the barn’s winning dual classics winner I’ll Have Another didn’t have a formal work after winning the Derby. At the moment, there’s a 30-40 percent chance of precipitation Thursday and Friday but not so for Saturday. A fast track would improve this guy’s chances for sure.
6. ITSMYLUCKYDAY did have a Preakness work at his Monmouth Park base Sunday on a drying-out track; a sharp 47 1/5 between the third and fourth races. “Perfect,” was how trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. described the move. Itsmyluckyday worked beneath regular rider Elvis Trujillo who will not be his regular rider Saturday. Plesa opted for Hall of Famer Johnny Velazquez. The colt will ship to Baltimore on Tuesday.
7. OXBOW raced extremely creditably in the Derby, sitting close to the lightning run-off pace of newly blinkered Palace Malice. He was the only runner to remain in contention with a quarter-mile remaining. Oxbow will have another stablemate, Titletown Five, him in the Pimlico starting gate. Gary Stevens, pleased with this tough colt’s courageous effort, rides him back on Saturday. Went an easy half in 49:80 Monday.
8. WILL TAKE CHARGE NOT TAKE CHARGE INDY** is Wayne Lukas’s third entrant seeking his sixth Preakness. Following a troubled trip, this talented albeit enigmatic performer will have a new rider Saturday, Hall of Famer Mike Smith replacing Jon Court. Court has now been replaced on both Oxbow and Take Charge Indy. Smith replaced him on Oxbow in the Rebel Stakes, just missing after making a premature move to the lead. Worked a half-mile in 48.20 Monday.
9. DEPARTING worked over the weekend under former rider Larry Melancon, a useful maintenance drill in 50 2/5. The fresh Illinois Derby winner galloped out five furlongs in 1:03 4/5. “He did enough to get the day off tomorrow,” said trainer Al Stall Jr., of his gelding that “doesn’t carry a lot of weight.” Many observers believe the new shooter has the best chance to upset Orb.
10. FREEDOM CHILD freaked on a sloppy track to win Saturday’s Peter Pan Stakes in a worthy 1:49.09 by 13-1/4 widening lengths. The question is whether the colt is getting really good at the right time or that moves up big time on a wet track. The best guess is probably it’s a little bit of both. Trainer Tom Albertrani, who flies below the national radar, has a deft hand with good young horses. This colt could be all that.
10. MYLUTE is yet another good Derby performer to exit the Louisiana Derby. He didn't threaten the leaders but came within hailing distance of the winner, out-performing more highly regarded runners. Rosie will take a return call. Mylute worked a half mile in 49.80 Monday morning.
**Correctiing Stupid Mistake Edit on 051413