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May 17, 2013

Orb versus eight in 138th Preakness Stakes


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Kentucky Derby winner Orb is the even-money morning-line favorite for Saturday's $1 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. The 1 3/16-mile event, second leg of racing's Triple Crown, attracted a field of nine 3-year-olds.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Orb won the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/2 lengths over 34-1 longshot Golden Soul on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs. For the Preakness, Orb and Rosario will start from the inside post. The pair had post 16 two weeks ago in the Run for the Roses.

"We're tickled to death to have Joel; we were tickled to death to get him," said trainer Shug McGaughey. "And, to have the year that he started off with, this year, makes us that much more confident."

Rosario won this year's Dubai World Cup aboard Animal Kingdom.

Orb, owned by Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, can become the second straight Derby winner to also claim the Preakness after I'll Have Another accomplished the feat last year. He can also become the first Triple Crown champion since Affirmed in 1978 if he goes on to capture the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

"I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said, 'No.' I try to block it out, but if you're in this position, anybody would think about it. Of course, you get reminded of it quite often," McGaughey said about winning the Triple Crown. "It's a thrilling thought, but we've got to get by Saturday. If we get by Saturday, it'll be quite an interesting three weeks."

Orb broke his maiden in his fourth career start and has not lost since. The colt won an allowance race to begin 2013 and followed with wins in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Florida Derby before conquering the Run for the Roses.

With five wins in eight starts, Orb has earned $2,335,850.

Orb will be his Hall of Fame trainer's first starter in the Preakness since 1989 when McGaughey saddled Kentucky Derby runner-up Easy Goer who lost by a nose to Derby champ Sunday Silence.

"I think (Illinois Derby winner) Departing is a pretty darn nice horse, and he's fresh; probably coming into the race the right way," McGaughey said about the competition. "Oxbow made a pretty good run at him there coming towards the end of the stretch, and Will Take Charge, they say he was making a run and got in some trouble. I haven't really looked back at that."

In post position order, here is the field for the 138th Preakness: Orb, even, Joel Rosario; Goldencents, 8-1, Kevin Krigger; Titletown Five, 30-1, Julien Leparoux; Departing, 6-1, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Mylute, 5-1, Rosie Napravnik; Oxbow, 15-1, Gary Stevens; Will Take Charge, 12-1, Mike Smith; Govenor Charlie, 12-1, Martin Garcia and Itsmyluckyday, 10-1, John Velazquez.

The Preakness will have a post-time of 6:25 p.m. (ET) and be televised on NBC.

The weather forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain and a post-time temperature of 70.

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