BALTIMORE (AP) — There are only two outcomes when it comes to Saturday’s Preakness Stakes — either the Kentucky Derby winner Orb wins the race to set up a Triple Crown try in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks, or another horse pulls an upset and prevents a shot at history.
With that in mind, here are 10 things to know about the Preakness — and beyond.
1. ELEVEN HAVE DONE IT. Starting in 1919 with Sir Barton, 11 horses have won the Triple Crown, sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Orb will be trying to become the 34th horse with a Triple Crown chance. Of the horses who failed, 19 didn’t win the Belmont and three didn’t make the race, including I’ll Have Another in 2012. Last year’s Derby and Preakness winner was scratched the day before the Belmont with a tendon injury and retired.
2. INSIDE SLOT. Orb leaves from the No. 1 post in the Preakness, not among the most popular places to start. Since 1961, only one horse — Tabasco Cat in 1994 — has won from the rail.
3. SECOND CHANCERS AND NEW SHOOTERS. Kentucky Derby winner Orb will be facing five familiar foes from the Derby and three new shooters. The Derby five are Mylute, Oxbow, Will Take Charge, Itsmyluckyday and Goldencents; the fresh faces are Departing, Govenor Charlie and Titletown Five.
4. SHORTER DISTANCE. The Preakness distance is 1 3-16 miles, a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Kentucky Derby, and five sixteenths shorter than the 1½-mile Belmont Stakes, called the Test of the Champion. The longer distance is considered one of the major reasons why Triple tries are thwarted. In recent years, two horses who won the Preakness convincingly — Funny Cide by 9½ lengths in 2003 and Smarty Jones by a record 11½ lengths in 2004 — fell short in the Belmont. Funny Cide was a length off the lead with a quarter-mile to go and finished third; Smarty Jones was passed in the final 70 yards by Birdstone.
5. A NICE REBOUND. Goldencents and Co. are looking for a little Preakness history. If the horse wins, he will top Louis Quatorze for the best rebound from the Derby. In 1996, Louis Quatorze finished 16th in the Derby and won the Preakness two weeks later. Goldencents was 17th in the Derby. A win would make Kevin Krigger the first black jockey to win the race since Willie Simms with Sly Fox in 1898, and it would make Doug O’Neill the first back-to-back Preakness winning trainer since Bob Baffert in 2001 and 2002.
6. THREE CHANCES. D. Wayne Lukas has one-third of the field in the nine-horse Preakness. The 77-year-old trainer is seeking his sixth Preakness win, which would break a second-place tie with Bob Baffert and Thomas J. Healey. The leader is Robert Wyndham Walden with seven, including five in a row starting in 1878. Lukas also is seeking a record 14th win in Triple Crown race win, which would put him one ahead of “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons. Lukas trains Oxbow, Will Take Charge and Titletown Five.
7. ROSIE’S RUN. Rosie Napravnik will be aboard 5-1 second choice Mylute. A win would make the rider who started her career in Maryland the first female to win the Preakness. She posted the best finish for a female rider in the Derby when Mylute ran fifth.
8. HOF LINEUP. There are a half-dozen Hall of Famers in the Preakness. The trainers are Shug McGaughey (Orb), D. Wayne Lukas (Oxbow, Will Take Charge and Titletown Five) and Bob Baffert (Govenor Charlie); the jockeys are Gary Stevens (Oxbow), Mike Smith (Will Take Charge) and John Velazquez (Itsmyluckyday).
9. THE GREATEST. The fastest Preakness was run by 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat. Big Red won in 1:53. By comparison, last year’s winner I’ll Have Another won in 1:55.94. For those looking ahead, Secretariat also has the record for the Belmont, covering the 1½ miles in 2:24. The second-fastest time is 2:26 by Easy Goer in 1989 and A.P. Indy in 1992. Union Rags won last year in 2:30.42.
10. THE DISAPPOINTMENTS. If Orb wins the Preakness, he will become the ninth horse since Silver Charm in 1997 to have a chance at the Triple Crown. The others who missed after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness were (Real Quiet, 1998), Charismatic (1999), War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004), Big Brown (2008) and I’ll Have Another (2012), who never made the race because of an injury.
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