Derby winner Orb feisty, ready for eight rivals in Preakness

May 14, 2013 at 3:38 PM
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BALTIMORE, May 14 (UPI) -- The field for Saturday's Preakness Stakes is stabilizing at nine runners with Kentucky Derby winner Orb the clear, and feisty, favorite.

Vyjack, who beat only one horse in the Derby, has been removed from Preakness consideration and will be freshened up for a summer campaign that could include a shift to the turf, owner David Wilkenfeld said.

"I think he's a nice horse," Wilkenfeld said. "If we do right by him, he'll do right by us. I do very much want to try him on the turf. They last longer if they run on the turf."

Orb, who arrived at Pimlico Monday by van from Belmont Park, will be seeking the second jewel of the Triple Crown. If he can clear that hurdle, only the June 6 Belmont Stakes will stand in the way of him becoming the 12th winner of the Triple Crown.

Trainer Shug McGaughey said he walked Orb around his Pimlico shedrow Tuesday morning only to find the Malibu Moon colt so feisty, "I had to give him up" to an assistant. He said exercise rider Jenn Patterson had been worried she let Orb go too fast in his Monday workout at Belmont but, "I asked her this morning, 'Still think you went too fast?' She just laughed."

"He's showing us in his daily routine since the Derby that he's still moving forward," McGaughey said of his first-ever Kentucky Derby winner. "What he's going to show in the afternoon, who knows? But right now, I'm really, really pleased with what I see."

Saturday's completion looks to include three saddled by trainer D. Wayne Lukas -- Oxbow, who was sixth in the Derby, Will Take Charge, who finished eighth in Louisville and "new shooter" Titletown Five.

Also likely are trainer Bob Baffert's Grade III Sunland Derby winner Govenor Charlie, who passed on the Kentucky Derby; Goldencents, who won the Santa Anita Derby but beat only two in the Run for the Roses; Mylute, who got home fifth in the Derby; and Itsmyluckyday, 15th under the Twin Spires.

Departing, who skipped the Kentucky Derby and instead was the easy winner of the Grade III Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Park, also represents a threat as a proven and rested "new shooter" for the Preakness.

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