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McGaughey confident about Preakness but wary of pitfalls

May 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM   |   Comments

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BALTIMORE, May 17 (UPI) -- Trainer Shug McGaughey says it'll take "a pretty darn good horse" to beat Kentucky Derby winner Orb in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Orb is looking to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 and only the 12th ever to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. He faces eight rivals in Saturday's $1 million, Grade I Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore.

McGaughey said the Malibu Moon colt is primed and ready.

"Everything is on go," the veteran trainer said Friday after Orb galloped 1 1/4 miles with energy.

But then McGaughey recited just a few of the things that can go wrong with a horse, or go awry during the course of a race.

"We hope he doesn't get in trouble. We hope he handles the track. We hope he handles the kickback of dirt. We hope he handles the day. If he does all that, I would have to think it's going to take a pretty darn good horse to beat him," McGaughey said.

The other trainers are hoping they have that "pretty darn good horse," and view Orb drawing he No. 1 post position as a potential negative for him.

"I only like to come here if I'm competitive," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will saddle three of Orb's rivals.

"I think we are." But, he added, "Orb's the best horse, let's face it."

One of the added attractions of this year's Preakness is the presence of Rosie Napravnik, a 25-year-old rising star who rode Mylute to a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and has the return call on the colt in the Preakness for trainer Tom Amoss.

Napravnik got her start riding races at Pimlico at age 17 and said she feels as if she is coming home after finding success at other tracks around North America.

"To come and ride the Preakness is really a dream come true," Napravnik said Friday, adding that winning the race would rival a Kentucky Derby victory in her "wish list."

"I would say they are head-and-head," the young rider said. "The Derby would mean so much for my career and to so many people. The Preakness would really be a great personal accomplishment. I don't know which would be more exciting. I haven't won either yet, so I'll let you know when it happens."

Post time for the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes is 6:20 p.m. EDT. The race will be televised on NBC-TV and broadcast on the Horse Racing Radio Network.

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