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May 10, 2013

Orb gives all indications for Preakness win


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Kentucky Derby winner Orb galloped Thursday morning at Belmont Park over a sloppy track. Trainer Shug McGaughey said that the 3-year-old colt will make his way to Pimlico the beginning of next week.

"He jogged three-eighths to a half-mile and galloped a mile. I thought everything was good," said McGaughey. "The track was still sloppy. Jenn (exercise rider Jenn Patterson) said he was kind of bucking and playing and jumping the water puddles on the backstretch. I was pleased with what I saw. His energy level is right where you'd want it to be on Thursday after Saturday."

The Hall of Fame trainer will have Orb workout Monday at Belmont Park before shipping to Baltimore for the 138th Preakness Stakes on May 18.

"The first thing we've got to do and what we've been doing is getting him over his last race - try to get him back on his feet the best we can, get him fresh and happy again." McGaughey said. "Next week, we'll get him ready to run again and that'll hopefully be through the breeze on Monday. We just want to put him back in the game. We don't need anything fast, just something that puts his mind back on what he's doing. Then, we'll get him to Pimlico and get him acclimated. There's not much else we can do.

"Day in and day out, with your better horses, you don't want to run them back in two weeks, because they give you a lot when they run. You've got to train them a little bit to get them to run again. There's no compromise here. You've got to do it. You've just got to hope you haven't drained your horse over the winter with prep races and his training, so he can bounce out of a big race like he had on Derby Day. But I think we'll be fine."

Also appearing at Belmont Park was Normandy Invasion, fourth in the Run for the Roses. Trained by Chad Brown, the colt jogged on the sloppy track for a second day. Brown and owner Rick Porter will decide over the weekend on the colt's status for the Preakness.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Thursday that Vyjack, 18th in the Derby, is a possible starter in the Preakness.

"I'm just going to wait and make my decision and then tell the owner what is going on," Rodriguez said. "So far, everything is good. I have to talk with the owner (David Wilkenfeld) first and see what he wants to do."

Goldencents, 17th in the Run for the Roses, is settled in at Pimlico for trainer Doug O'Neill. O'Neill won last year's Preakness with I'll Have Another two weeks after the colt claimed the Kentucky Derby.

The Santa Anita Derby winner jogged a mile Thursday at Pimlico with jockey Kevin Krigger. Under the care of assistant trainer Jack Sisterson, Goldencents will jog and gallop Friday morning and have a timed workout on Monday.

"Basically, this morning was just to have him stretch his legs, get warmed up for tomorrow," Krigger said. "It was more to feel how good he felt and he felt perfect today. Everything was good. He was smooth, graceful on the track, and relaxed. That's all the factors you're looking for.

"The key to him is to have him run his race. If you look at the Kentucky Derby, at least to me, that wasn't the race we expected to see out of him at all. We had a lot of factors in the race that could have been the reason. We're here trying to regroup, gather him back up and get back on the winning trail."

Trainer Al Stall Jr. will have Departing make his first start in the Preakness since winning the Illinois Derby on April 20 at Hawthorne. The colt galloped two miles Thursday at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Trina Pasckvale.

"We changed it up a little bit this morning, but we had the luxury to do that," Stall said of a break in the regular routine of galloping 1 1/2 miles.

Brian Hernandez Jr. is Departing's regular jockey and will have his first ride at Pimlico in the Preakness.

"After this meet was over, I used to ride at Delaware Park and I have ridden some at Laurel but never at Pimlico," Hernandez said. "I am going to go over a day early and ride a horse for Al (Tread in the Miss Preakness Stakes)."

Other Preakness candidates who jogged or galloped Thursday at Churchill were Mylute. Oxbow, Will Take Charge, Titletown Five and Govenor Charlie.

The only Preakness candidate stabled at Monmouth Park is Florida Derby runner- up Itsmyluckyday. Trained by Ed Plesa Jr., Itsmyluckyday finished 15th in the Run for the Roses.

The colt had a two-mile jog Thursday at Monmouth in spite of the rain.

"It was kind of a nasty morning and since we just arrived yesterday from Churchill we just jogged him," said Frankie Perez, assistant to trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. "From a scale from one to 10, he was a 10."

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