The Preakness Stakes will be held on May 18, 2013. Due to the brutal two week turnaround between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes many horses have only tentatively committed. Here’s a rundown of the confirmed Preakness contenders. Expect more confirmations throughout the week.
ORB: Kentucky Derby winner trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey. A versatile horse who closed strong at the Derby distance of a mile and a quarter. The slightly shorter course at Pimlico shouldn’t give him any trouble and everything sets up well for him to reprise his Derby performance. As is always the case with horses that run the Derby and then the Preakness the big question is his ability to bounce back for another big race in just two weeks.
OXBOW: Trained by venerable D. Wayne Lukas and will be ridden by jockey Gary Stevens. Something of an unknown quantity even after a 6th place Kentucky Derby finished. Was a pacesetter early but faded badly in the stretch. Still some serious questions about whether or not he’s ‘in over his head’ with this class.
WILL TAKE CHARGE: D. Wayne Lukas trained but there’s still plenty not to like even after a better than expected performance in the Derby. Skipped final Derby prep race meaning he hasn’t run since mid-March and the layoff could be problematic. Still the worst horse in almost any field on an ‘off track’–he didn’t run badly at Churchill Downs but was completely a non factor as he finished eighth.
GOLDENCENTS: The Doug O’Neill trained Goldencents competed for the lead early in the Kentucky Derby but was eased up midway through. Front running speed should be even more effective in the Preakness Stakes and particularly if the track is fast. Still a lot of love from ‘wise guys’ for Goldencents.
DEPARTING: The only confirmed entry so far that didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby. Departing is a gelding son of Grade 2 sprint winner War Front. Has only lost once in five lifetime starts finishing third in the Louisiana Derby behind Kentucky Derby contenders Mylute and Revolutionary. Lightly raced as a two year old, his last race was a solid victory in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Park in late April.
MYLUTE: Jockey Rosie Napravnik will take her new found celebrity status to the Preakness aboard the horse she rode in the Kentucky Derby. Gave Revolutionary a tough battle in the Louisiana Derby and coming off a solid 5th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. May have benefited as much from an ‘off’ track and a strange pace at Churchill Downs.
GOVERNOR CHARLIE: Other than the fact he’s trained by Bob Baffert not much to say about Governor Charlie. Broke his maiden in February and followed that performance up with a win in the Sunland Derby in New Mexico. Baffert considered entering him in the Derby but eventually passed. Impressed in his graded stakes debut but how will he do against a field of this class?
TITLETOWN FIVE: D. Wayne Lukas trained, the most notable thing about this horse is his owner—NFL Hall of Famer Paul Hornung. Has been unimpressive in two stakes races, finishing 9th in the Louisiana Derby and 4th in the Derby Trial. Depending on how many horses declare for the race he might not make the field.
Check the latest Belmont Stakes contenders for 2013 and choose for yourself.