HRI's Triple Crown Power Rankings

The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings is a consensus opinion of HorseRaceInsider's editorial staff compiled and written by executive editor John Pricci. It is an amalgam of achievement and opinion relative to the merits of the 2013 Triple Crown. The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings will be adjusted each week following significant prep race developments.

Orb 3-1 to Sweep Triple Crown

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 5, 2013—At this moment, five horses from the Kentucky Derby are expected to challenge Orb in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, a week from Saturday.

Three of the five are considered definite; Goldencents, and the Wayne Lukas pair of Will Take Charge and Oxbow. The connections of Mylute and Itsmyluckyday are expected to decide within a few days.

The second, third and fourth finishers will pass, their connections not wanting to run their horses back in two weeks. *According to Daily Racing Form in a May 6 post, Normandy Invasion is currently under consideration.

As of today, Stuart Janney's and Ogden Mills Phipps' colt is a 3-1 proposition to sweep the Triple Crown according to Bovada, an online wagering site.

The six expected to ship to Maryland probably would prefer more time, too. This year is just the latest example of the Triple Crown failing to adapt to today's equines and the needs of modern day horsemen. Until it does, the series never will be as good as it can be.

And as long raceday Lasix is permitted, the breed doesn't figure to improve any time soon. Remember when improving the breed mattered in this sport?

The following is the ninth installment of the 2013 Triple Crown poll which will, as did earlier polls, focus on the race at hand. So, with an eye toward Baltimore, here is the HRI Preakness Power 10 (with polling points in parentheses):

1. ORB (48) - A perfect score for the horse that has been perfect all year long, the 22nd Derby winner to emerge from the Florida Derby. This is no mere deep closer; he’s a horse that adapts to conditions from off the pace, and uses a tremendous turn of foot when called upon. A video look from Belmont Park indicated Sunday afternoon that he was no worse for the wear.

2. Goldencents (24) – Taken completely out of his best game when blinkered runoff Palace Malice set torrid fractions, nonetheless chased the speed all the way around over a surface that he appeared to dislike. Kevin Krigger wise took care of him late. Shows up this time if given dry footing.

2. Oxbow (24) – Didn’t think the Coach had it right when he said he thought he was going to do it. Run very well he did, but never looked the part of a winner. He chased the blistering pace throughout after bumping with Revolutionary soon after the start, and continued his rally to the furlong pole before tiring. One very tough SOB.

4. Mylute (23) – Terrific performance provided more validation of the Louisiana Derby, showing an excellent turn of foot while chasing the rally Orb on the far turn, closing the gap dramatically, but the momentum carried him wide. Lost the whole thing by less than four lengths and show by the length of two heads. Exited the race fine as of Sunday morning and will proceed to Baltimore if that trend continues. Nice horse deserving of this chance.

5. Departing (20) – Speaking of Louisiana Derby corroboration, never seriously threatened either Revolutionary or Mylute but returned to win the Illinois Derby with complete authority. Very well bred and in the top hands of “Little Al” Stall, he is peaking at the right time and has all the pedigree you could want for competition at the highest level. Spacing seems perfect, the Hawthorne race coming four weeks in advance of the Preakness.

5. Will Take Charge (20) – Chased the Derby pace from midpack, racing wide throughout, and he continued in the 5-path on the turn, was still running well when checked behind the drifting slop-compromised Verrazano. The Derby was his first try beyond 1-1/16 miles and first race in seven weeks. Lukas owns excellent Derby record and this guy figures to move up significantly.

7. Governor Charlie (14) – Impressed winning the Sunland Park Derby then missed the Kentucky Derby with some minor issues at a major time. Speedster puts Bob Baffert back in the Classics chase after he failed to get one of his runners to the big dance this time around. Whether this colt belongs or not remains to be seen.

8. Itsmyluckyday (12) – The good fortune ran out when Churchill Downs came up a sea of slop on Derby day. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. called it a 60-40 proposition that he would run in the Derby after saying he was 100 percent sure his colt didn’t act on the sloppy track. “He trained too good to run that bad.” Agreed. He deserves a chance to make amends and the Preakness dynamics better suited to his style.

9. Abstraction (4) – Came off a tour de force effort at Fair Grounds**, shipping to Pimlico for the Tesio, a traditional local prep for the Preakness. Wasn’t overly impressive but handled the class rise and Eastern surface with classy determination. Of these 10, the only runner with the benefit of a recent race over the track.

10. Bellarmine (3) – Hung on gamely to defeat Kentucky Derby aspirant, now Belmont Stakes hopeful, Code West, in a 1-1/16 miles allowance race on the Derby undercard in 1:43.24, getting his final sixteenth in a worthy 06.41 seconds. His front-running score improved his lifetime mark to (4) 2-2-0 and with Java’s War and Frac Daddy expected to remain on the sidelines, expect Ken McPeek to seriously consider this option.

* Edit and **correction made 050713

Written by John Pricci - Comments (6)


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