Archive for the ‘Triple Crown 2013’ Category

Stylish Return for Revolutionary

It was worth the wait. Revolutionary rumbled past Fallen Sky in a geared down 1/2 length tally at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Revolutionary saddle cloth Kentucky Derby 2013

Photo by Stacy Edwards

Returning at a distance clearly shorter than his best off a 7+ month layoff and prepping for the G1 Donn ‘Cap, Revolutionary was comfortably ambling along and racing outside, about 4-lengths off the lead after a 1/4 mile. He crept a bit closer after a 1/2 in :46 and change and six panels in 1:09.84. He was just stretching his legs with two furlongs to go.

I was not sure he was going to get there turning for home, but he looked every bit a winner once Castellano got after him in the lane. It was a perfect prep for the Donn and Pletcher and company should be very pleased with the WinStar Farm colt. He should relish the nine furlong distance next time.

Hopefully, I will get to watch my Derby buddy race in Louisville later this year. I would like to see more attractive odds than the 1-5 offered on Saturday, but fair value might be hard to come by if he continues to win races with ease.

The company will get saltier in the near future but the talented son of War Pass should be up to the challenge. He could be any kind of performer if he stays healthy and the Handicap Division just got a lot more interesting!

Good Luck, Revolutionary!

My Kentucky Derby 2013 selection Revolutionary returns to action in the second race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 11. He will break from post 1 as the 7-5 morning line favorite in the flat mile optional claiming affair. Saturday’s rider Javier Castellano has booted him home twice.


Jarrod and Revolutionary at WinStar Farm – photo by Stacy Edwards

Revolutionary lost his first three career starts as the favorite before springing to life with a maiden win and a visually impressive tally in the G3 Withers on the inner dirt at Aqueduct last winter. He punched his Kentucky Derby ticket with a late running tally in the G2 Louisiana Derby and rallied for the show five weeks later on the first Saturday in May. The Todd Pletcher trainee figured to have a big say in the G1 Belmont Stakes but was shelved after a flat 5th place effort.

I visited Revolutionary at WinStar Farm in the fall and he looked the picture of health. He shipped to Florida this winter, shows eight published workouts at Palm Meadows Training Center since Nov. 19, and appears primed for a large 4-year-old campaign.

Hopefully, he returns a more mature horse, and, if all goes well tomorrow, he will move on to the G1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 9.

Some other horses that I saw during my WinStar visit have also returned to the worktab recently, including Queenie’s Song (3f turf in :40.05 at Palm Meadows on 1-8), Flirtatious (3f bullet in :36 at Fair Grounds on 1-6), Normandy Invasion (4f in :50 at Palm Meadows on 1-5), and Alakazan Alakazan (4f gate bullet in :47.40 at Palm Meadows on 1-4). I will continue to follow the horses that I saw at WinStar and post updates as the make it to the entry box.

Beyond the 2013 Triple Crown: Summer Stakes Preview

The 2013 Triple Crown series is in the books and the 3-year-old calendar will heat up again in July when racing moves to Saratoga.  

Derby winner Orb, Preakness hero Oxbow, and Belmont Stakes upsetter Palace Malice all figure to point to the G1 Travers, the mid-summer Derby at Saratoga on Saturday, August 24.

The G1 Jim Dandy Stakes, the local prep for the Travers, will take place on Saturday, July 27.

Verrazano tops the list of G1 Haskell Invitational contenders following a facile win in the G3 Pegasus at Monmouth Park on July 16. Itsmyluckyday was supposed to test him in the Pegasus but was pulled up with an injury and is out for four months. The Haskell is set for Sunday, July 28.

In the video below, I recap the Triple Crown series, as well as the Matt Winn and Pegasus Stakes. Finally, I look at five horses to watch this summer/fall.

Belmont Stakes 2013 Day Analysis Recap

Thanks to everyone for purchasing my Belmont Stakes Day analysis from Belmont Park on Saturday, June 8. For those who missed it, I have included highlights and analysis below.

Belmont Stakes Day analysis highlights:

BEL 7 (G2 True North) FAST BULLET ($3.60), Exacta w/Laurie’s Rocket ($23.60)
Daily Double (race 6-7, $8.20)
Daily Double (race 7-8, $12.60)
Pick 3 (race 6-7-8, $29)
BEL 9 (G2 Woody Stephens) Forty Tales/Declan’s Warrior EXACTA (best bet #3, $97)
BEL 10 (G1 Manhattan) POINT OF ENTRY ($3.10), TRIFECTA ($57)
Double (race 9-10, $34.60)
Pick 3 (race 8-10, $119)

Upcoming Today’s Racing Digest full cards:

Churchill Saturdays (June 15, June 22, June 29)

Belmont Park Saturdays (July 6, July 13)

Saratoga Saturdays (July 20, July 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31)

Full card analysis can be purchased directly through me or via my Handicapper Page at contact me at for more information.

Palace Malice Belmont Stakes 2013

Palace Malice surprises foes in Belmont Stakes 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Belmont Stakes Day Full Card Analysis – Saturday, June 8, 2013

By Jarrod Horak (,
: AM Showers (50% chance). High 71. Best Bets (races 5, 6, 9, 11)

BEL 1 (OC-14k/1x, 6f) #5 TYCOON CAT (5-1) was nabbed out of his last by claiming artist Jacobson and Alvarado is 7-for-10 with this outfit recently. Both of his career wins occurred here and the versatile 5yo gelding gets pace to chase in the paper race. He is 2-for-45 lifetime and 0-for-15 at 6f but he goes for much better connections now. #9 Master Cip (2-1) earned the best last race number in a clear place finish at this course/distance May 4. The early-pressing threat dons the hood and attracts Rosario. #12 Comandante (8-1) always runs his race on fast/wet dirt. Trombetta excels turf/dirt and the early-pressing type can spring forward 2nd off the shelf. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta 5/9-12, Exacta 9-12/5

BEL 2 (OC-25k/1x. 7f) #2 SLAN ABHAILE (7-2) fired Exacta shots in all three outings including back-to-back strong effort at this distance. The winner from his last came back to score again and Romans is sending out live wires here. #7 Integrity (3-1) cuts back and ran well at 7f at the Gulf Feb. 21. Rosario is 2-for-3 with Chad Brown. #5 Odea (6-1) is dangerous when he shakes loose early on wet tracks. He has yet to race beyond six furlongs. #9 Whatabouthonor (8-1) owns an ascending numbers pattern and hails from a profitable, low profile barn. I think 7f is pushing the stamina envelope. #4 Bad Hombre (15-1) got loose on wet footing at this course/distance May 11. Alvarado hops aboard and I am sure his connections are doing a rain dance. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Trifecta 2-5-7/2-5-7/2-4-5-7-9

BEL 3 (MSW, 7T) #9 ATLANTIC’S SMILE (5-1) fired a local gate bullet May 31 and dam has tossed three winners from as many starters. Stormy Atlantic is a solid turf sire and she might be a factor on any footing. #4 Lara (6-1) earned a better number on the drop here May 12. Dam has tossed a turf winner and Levine excels 2nd off the shelf#6 It’s Your Dime (5-2) is the one to catch on any footing. Stevens hops aboard the returnee. Main Track Only #13 Isn’tshewonderful (2-1) and #14 Concealed (5-2) own competitive dirt numbers. Rosario rides the former and the latter dons the hood for the productive Alvarado/Jacobson team. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Trifecta 4-9/4-6-9-13-14/4-6-9-13-14

BEL 4 (MSW, 8f) #1 EL GENIO (5-1) deserves a second chance after taking action and finishing 5th from the rail post in his 5.5f local bow May 15. He adds lasix-blinkers and the inside post is 30% at this trip. Iselin is 2-for-3 with second timers. #8 Captain Davrick (4-5) will probably earn his diploma at miniscule odds. He owns an ascending numbers pattern and exits a clear place finish over wet footing at Churchill. Rosario hops aboard the early-pressing gelding. #9 Native Singer (6-1) debuts with some decent local works and Galluscio can strike with a firster. Dam has tossed three winners. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Quinella 1-9/8

BEL 5 (MSW, 8f) #4 ACCELERARE (6-1) finished a solid 3rd in his local debut at 5-2 in the slop May 11. Pletcher excels with second timers and he also saddles #1 Sneaky Blowout (5-1). The latter ran well in his 7f bow at the Gulf under today’s rider Johnny V and was the beaten favorite at 8.5f here April 28. #6 Howie’s Tiz (7-2) finished a ½ length in front of Accelerare off a lengthy layoff last time. Rosario strings along and Levine excels 2nd off the shelf. THE PLAYS: #4 to win, Exacta 4/1-6, Exacta 1-6/4  

BEL 6 (Easy Goer, 8.5f) #9 IRSAAL (4-1) earned vastly improved numbers with the addition of lasix in his last pair and he handled wet tracks both times. #4 Doherty (6-1) finished behind Irsaal in his last pair and his numbers continue to rise. #2 Power Broker (7-5) exits a smart wet track win at Churchill. Napravnik sticks and she has been clicking with Baffert recently (Code West, Midnight Lucky). #8 Wabbajack (8-1) owns a rising numbers pattern and sharp, low profile trainer Toner excels with his recent grads trying winners for the first time. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9/2-4-8, Exacta 2-4-8/9   

BEL 7 (G2 True North, 6f) #1 JUSTIN PHILLIP (7-5) has never been better. He exits back-to-back wins and moves up on wet footing. The Asmussen trainee has struck three times here. #1A FAST BULLET (7-5) makes his first start in more than six months. The lightly raced 5yo clearly has physical problems but he is talented when healthy. #2 Laurie’s Rocket (12-1) handles wet footing and is usually good for at least a share at 6f. #5 Caixa Electronica (7-2) won this last year and handles wet tracks. #6 Sage Valley (5-2) eyes five straight and must avoid a bounce. Johnny V hops off in favor of Justin Phillip. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Exacta 1-5-6/2

BEL 8 (G1 Just a Game, 8T) Overseas invader #5 LAUGH OUT LOUD (15-1) seems to handle any turf footing and horses bred in Great Britain seem to relish less than firm footing when they run in the U.S. She captured a Group II at this trip over soft ground last year. #1 Hungry Island (4-1) and #2 Stephanie’s Kitten (5-2) finished necks apart at Churchill May 4 and both handle various turf conditions. The former has struck three times here and the latter is 3-for-4 at 8f. #7 Better Lucky (12-1) has won in the mud, slop, and firm turf so why not yielding or soft ground? Rosario at a square price. #3 Centre Court (3-1), #4 Dayatthespa (6-1), and #6 Mizdirection (7-2) are a combined 22-for-32 on turf but all seem to prefer firm footing. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Trifecta 1-2-5/1-2-5/7

BEL 9 (G2 Woody Stephens, 7f) The paper race pace scenario looks demanding and #3 CAPO BASTONE (6-1) would love a speed duel. The Pletcher trainee is an effective late running sprinter and reunites with winning pilot Johnny V. He handles fast/wet dirt and earned his best career number in the G3 Derby Trial last out. #7 Forty Tales (5-1) necked Capo Bastone under the Twin Spires April 27 and is a solid off the pace threat once again.  #1 Declan’s Warrior (6-1) is 2-for-2 at this course/distance and a neck shy of a perfect 5-for-5 career mark. #9 Clearly Now (6-1) is versatile and always runs his race around one turn. #6 Zee Bros (4-1) is lightning quick and new pilot Napravnik is 3-for-4 with Baffert recently. He graduated at seven panels and would appreciate a speed favoring track. #11 Let Em Shine (3-1) is quality SoCal speed for the deadly Maldonado-Kitchingman team. His price is less than ideal and I want to see him prove it in this spot. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-7, Exacta 3-7/1-9  

BEL 10 (G1 Manhattan ‘ Cap, 10f inner turf) #1 POINT OF ENTRY (3-5) has won 6 of his last 7 and the fresh, classy 5yo horse handles firm/yielding turf. He owns running style versatility and is reportedly training better than ever. #5 Optimizer (6-1) is an iron horse and the Lukas trainee handles any type of turf footing. The multiple Grade III winner usually falls a bit short vs. classier rivals but Rosario is up and he always tries hard. #4 Real Solution (12-1) won on heavy ground in Italy and can spring forward in his second U.S. start for Chad Brown. Leaproux is a solid grass rider. THE PLAYS: Trifecta 1/4-5/ALL, Trifecta 1/ALL/4-5

BEL 11 (G1 Belmont Stakes, 12f) 12 of the last 14 Belmont Stakes winners skipped the Preakness (exceptions – Afleet Alex, Point Given). 6 Derby losers since 2000 skipped Preakness and won Belmont (Union Rags, Summer Bird, Jazil, Birdstone, Empire Maker, Commendable) #9 REVOLUTIONARY (9-2) was my Derby top and galloped out in front after landing the show on the first Saturday in May. He won his other three routes including the productive LA Derby and is fresh and ready to turn the tables on Orb. He was 2nd in his lone start here last year and his strong female family should enable him to navigate this marathon trip. He handles fast/wet dirt and reunites with winning pilot Castellano. #3 Overanalyze (12-1) wins every other race and he’s a Belmont Stakes winner if that pattern holds. The 3-time Graded winner captured the G2 Futurity here and owns the right grinding style to succeed at this distance. He reunites with 2-time Belmont Stakes winning rider Johnny V. His late sire Dixie Union was responsible for last year’s Belmont hero Union Rags. #5 Orb (3-1) had his 5-race win streak snapped in a flat Preakness effort from the dead-rail. He is better than his last and continues to train forwardly but this is his third start in five weeks. I have always liked Shug’s colt and maybe my Derby exacta box (Revolutionary-Orb) will come together this time around. #1 Frac Daddy (20-1) is firing bullets and there is talk of him going for the lead from the rail. McPeek has won the Belmont before and I liked him earlier this year. #14 Golden Soul (10-1) chugged up for the place in the Derby and can get a small piece of this. #13 Unlimited Budget (8-1) had her undefeated streak snapped with a Ky Oaks show finish. Female family says no to 12f but she will be in the right stalking spot under Napravnik. #12 Palace Malice (15-1) has not won beyond 6.5f and is eligible for entry level spot. #2 Freedom Child (8-1) freaked in the Peter Pan mud and might get wet footing again. He is training well for this but does not look like a marathon type. #7 Oxbow (5-1) stole the Preakness but won’t get loose this time and he never wins when he fails to set the pace. #6 Incognito (20-1) owns a decent pedigree but is not this quality yet. #10 Will Take Charge (20-1) is a gem of inconsistency. #11 Vyjack (20-1) is not bred for this trip. #4 Giant Finish (30-1) looks like a pace factor at the most. #8 Midnight Taboo (30-1) is lightly raced and overmatched. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9/3-5, Exacta 3-5/9, Trifecta 3-5-9/3-5-9/1-2-3-5-9-12-13-14

BEL 12 (OC-20/1x, 7T) #10 VISIONANDAPRAYER (5-1) ran well for new trainer Englehart in the local slop (off the turf) at 7f May 11. Barn $$ rider Irad Ortiz Jr. sticks and he’s a forwardly placed threat on any footing. #5 Why Not Whiskey (8-1) won his lone try at this course/distance (good ground) last year and needed his 8.5f comeback May 18. Main Track Only entrants #13 Bond Vigilante (3-1) and #14 Ultimate Empire (2-1) must be respected on dirt. The former beat a next out winner March 30 and the latter romped in the local mud May 9. THE PLAYS: #10 to win, Exacta 10/5-13-14, Exacta 5-13-14/10 

BEL 13 (Clm-20k, 8.5f inner turf) #1 NINEINTHENINE (3-1) handles firm/yielding turf and wet dirt. #4 J W Blue (4-1) looks like a threat on any footing for the productive Alvarado/Jacobson team. If this race moves to dirt, keep an eye on Main Track Only entrants #13 Sovereign Default (5-2) and #14 Handsome Harbor (7-2). They both exit place finishes in the local slop. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Exacta 1/4-13-14, Exacta 4-13-14/1

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4 contenders – in order of preference


1   (5-9-12)
2   (2-7-5-9-4)
3   (9-4-6-13-14)
4   (1-8-9)
5   (4-1-6)
6   (9-4-2-8)
7   (1)
8   (5-1-2-7)
9   (3-7-1-9)
10 (1-5-4)
11 (9-3-5)
12 (10-5-13-14)
13 (1-4-13-14)

Belmont Stakes 2013 Preview: Orb 3-1 Favorite

The field has been set for Belmont Stakes 2013 and 3-1 morning line favorite Orb will break from post position five.

Belmont Stakes 2013 Post Positions

PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, ML Odds

1. Frac Daddy, Ken McPeek, Alan Garcia  30-1
2. Freedom Child, Tom Albertrani, Luis Saez  8-1
3. Overanalyze, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez  12-1
4. Giant Finish, Tony Dutrow, Edgar Prado  30-1
5. Orb, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario  3-1
6. Incognito, Kiaran McLaughlin, Irad Ortiz Jr.  20-1
7. Oxbow, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens  5-1
8. Midnight Taboo, Todd Pletcher, Garrett Gomez  30-1
9. Revolutionary, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano 9-2
10. Will Take Charge, D. Wayne Lukas, Jon Court 20-1
11. Vyjack, Rudy Rodriguez, Julien Leparoux 20-1
12. Palace Malice, Todd Pletcher, Mike Smith 15-1
13. Unlimited Budget, Todd Pletcher, Rosie Napravnik 8-1
14. Golden Soul, Dallas Stewart, Robby Albarado 10-1

Recent Belmont Stakes History

12 of last 14 Belmont Stakes winners skipped Preakess (exceptions – Afleet Alex, Point Given).

Since 2000, 6 Derby losers skipped Preakness and won Belmont Stakes (Union Rags, Summer Bird, Jazil, Birdstone, Empire Maker, Commendable).

Fast Track Radio Show

For Belmont Stakes Day best bets and more, tune in to The Fast Track with Steve Borstein radio show on Saturday (June 8) morning at 10am (Eastern Time). Saturday’s guests include Joe DePaolo, Jarrod Horak, and Molly Jo Rosen.

Click here to listen to Saturday’s show.

Belmont Stakes Day Full Card Analysis

My Belmont Stakes Day analysis is available on my Handicapper page at Today’s Racing Digest.

Click here to visit my TRD Handicapper page. For bonus free pick, click view sample.




Preakness 2013 Recap – Oxbow steals show

Congratulations to Preakness 2013 hero Oxbow. Nobody wanted the early lead and Gary Stevens was more than happy to canter around the track and win this second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Oxbow wires field in Preakness 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow, owned by Calumet Farm, is a war horse for throwback connections Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens. The Preakness Stakes was his 11th lifetime start and there is no rest in sight with the Test of Champions squarely on his radar screen.

Did Lukas scare everyone from a pace perspective? He entered sprinter Titletown Five and possibly fooled jockey Kevin Krigger aboard Goldencents.

Titletown Five did not go for the lead under Leaproux, and Goldencents failed to take advantage so Stevens and Oxbow walked the dog from start to finish.

I knew that Oxbow was best on the lead but did not think he was quick enough to get there. The pace figured to be slower than the Derby but I did not see the crawling Preakness pace coming.

Runner-up Itsmyluckyday was making his 12th career start in Baltimore so chalk another one up for experience. He got the best of the draw as an outside stalker and rediscovered his sharp Florida form.

Mylute picked up another minor check in stakes race. He was the only one making up any ground and the Preakness was his fifth place/show finish in the stakes ranks.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb seemed to be living a charmed life until he drew the dead rail. The outside closer never looked comfortable and went through the motions in a flat 4th place finish.

Granted, before the Preakness, Orb handled wet/fast footing and various pace scenarios but the Derby fell into the lap of a closer and everything went perfectly for Shug and company on the first Saturday in May.

Goldencents had one shot and that was to attempt a wire job but was ridden passively. He is a quality early runner with distance limitations and his best weapon was taken away at Pimlico.

Departing sat right outside of Orb and made a top three bid along the inside turning for home. He flattened out to finish 6th and was not disgraced in his toughest test to date.

Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, and Titletown Five trailed.

It is on the Belmont Stakes in 20-days and my top ranked sophomore Revolutionary looms large in the Test of Champions.

Belmont Stakes 2013 logo

Early Belmont Stakes 2013 Hopefuls (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – Baffert’s runner followed up a place finish in the Risen Star with a 6th in the LA Derby. He finished 2nd on the Derby undercard and beat older allowance rivals to cap the Preakness Day card.

Freedom Child (Malibu Moon): Freaked in the muddy Peter Pan Stakes and looms a pace factor at the very least in the Test of Champions. Split Orb and Revolutionary in a maiden race at the Big A last November.

Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher took advantage of a pace meltdown to land the place in the Kentucky Derby. Dallas Stewart’s late runner is scheduled to work at Churchill next Wed. or Thurs.

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Florida Derby runner-up flopped in the Derby and rebounded with a place finish in the Preakness. The Monmouth Park based colt is targeting the Haskell this summer but is still possible for the Belmont Stakes.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished 10th in the G2 Remsen to end his juvenile campaign. Returned with a game neck victory (wide trip) vs. allowance rivals at Monmouth May 11 and could go next in the Belmont Stakes.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Everything went right in the Kentucky Derby but the wheels came off the cart in the Preakness, ending his 5-race winning streak. He may try to rebound in the Belmont Stakes but there is talk of resting him and waiting for Saratoga.

Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely to win the Arkansas Derby and ended up 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Breezed 4f in :47.50 (3/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee snuck away early and stole the Preakness for Stevens. He shows up for every dance so expect him to complete in the final leg of the Triple Crown series.

Palace Malice (Curlin): Risen Star show finisher ended up a troubled 7th in the LA Derby and rebounded with a 2nd in the Blue Grass. He set fast splits (blinkers on) before fading to 12th in the Kentucky Derby and is now targeting the Belmont. He breezed 4f in :47.49 (2/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner and raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee finished 5th in his SA Derby return and won an allowance race at Churchill on May 10. The Belmont Stakes is a possibility.

Revolutionary (War Pass) – He has been my top ranked 3yo since February and my confidence has not wavered following a solid show finish in the Derby. I thought the Belmont Stakes was perfect for him after his smart Withers score earlier this year and he is bred to run all day on the dam side. He will work twice for the Belmont beginning Sunday, May 26.

Unlimited Budget (Street Sense) – 3-time graded winner lost for the first time after landing the show in the Kentucky Oaks. The Pletcher/Repole filly breezed 4f in :49.07 (14/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Preakness 2013 Preview: Will Orb overcome inside post?

The field has been set for Preakness 2013 and even money favorite Orb will break from the rail.

Preakness 2013 Post Positions

PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, ML Odds

 1. Orb, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario  1-1
2. Goldencents, Doug O’Neill, Kevin Krigger  8-1
3. Titletown Five, D. Wayne Lukas, Julien Leparoux  30-1
4. Departing, Al Stall Jr., Brian Hernandez Jr.  6-1
5. Mylute, Tom Amoss, Rosie Napravnik  5-1
6. Oxbow, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens  15-1
7. Will Take Charge, D. Wayne Lukas, Mike Smith  12-1
8. Govenor Charlie, Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia  12-1
9. Itsmyluckyday, Eddie Plesa Jr., John Velazquez  10-1

Preakness 2013

Jarrod Horak’s Preakness 2013 Preview (in post position order):

1. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Tabasco Cat is the only horse in the last 41 years to win the Preakness Stakes from post one and Orb likes to make wide, sweeping moves. If he is a legit Triple Crown threat the inside post will not bother him and Rosario continues to ride great. I have always liked Shug’s colt but he won’t offer any value in Baltimore.

2. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – SA Derby winner hated the Derby wet track and the pace scenario did not help his cause. He is a quality speed horse but needs everything to go his way to compete vs. these at this distance. Krigger might send him and play catch me if you can.

3. Titletown Five (Tiznow) – He finished in front of Orb in a Saratoga maiden race last summer. He has raw talent but is best as a sprinter at this stage. Interesting that patient rider Leparoux takes over. They are trying to get him to relax.

4. Departing (War Front) – Playing the part of Red Bullet is Departing and taking over the role of Fusaichi Pegasus is Orb. At least that is what trainer Al Stall Jr.  is hoping. He is 4-for-5 lifetime and the LA Derby was a productive prep. He did not beat much in the Illinois Derby but looked good doing it.

5. Mylute (Midnight Lute) – He is winless in seven stakes outings but is usually in the hunt. Napravnik was the queen of Maryland racing when she rode at Laurel/Pimlico and she really wants to win the Preakness.

6. Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Lukas trainee was done in by the quick Derby splits but hung in there to finish a fine 6th. His main problem is that he pulled off wire jobs in both career wins but is not quick enough to grab the early lead in the Preakness.

7. Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner finished a troubled 8th in the Derby. He is a bit interesting if he finds clear sailing under Mike Smith but is not fast enough and has yet to win beyond a mile and a sixteenth.

8. Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – G3 Sunland Derby hero is lightly raced and on the improve. He lacks seasoning and has recovered from the minor hind foot issue that forced him to miss the Derby. Look for him to make some noise later this year.

9. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Eddie Plesa’s colt got the best of the draw based on his preferred outside stalk and pounce style. The Florida Derby runner-up flopped in the Derby and may have peaked in January. Orb beat him in his last pair.

Check out my Friday & Saturday (May 17-18) Black-Eyed Susan & Preakness Day full card analysis from Pimlico (available now) and Bonus Free Pick (PIM 8th race, click view sample) at

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Preakness 2013 Contenders – Will Orb capture second jewel?

Congratulations to Kentucky Derby 2013 hero Orb, and it was nice to see Shug McGaughey saddle his first Derby winner as well. He looks like a runaway locomotive at this point and might be too hot to handle in Preakness 2013.

Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb

Congrats to Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Orb was one of my Exciting Prospects when I posted my first Derby Top 10 list last September. He lacked maturity in his first three outings but has really put everything together since. The Derby was his fifth straight win and he goes to Baltimore on a serious roll. He received a great pace setup in the Derby and it could be more of the same in the Preakness with the likes of Titletown Five and Goldencents on the engine early.

Speaking of rolls, jockey Joel Rosario has been unstoppable since winning the Dubai World Cup. Orb is currently preparing for the second jewel at Belmont Park and will ship to Pimlico early next week.

It is fun to talk about Orb’s Triple Crown chances but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. History is not on his side but he does possess all of the tools to give it a serious run. The son of Malibu Moon wheels back quickly on May 18 and it should be noted that he graduated off two weeks rest last year. I also saw a stat on TVG earlier this week about Shug McGaughey clicking at a 50% rate (6-for-12) when he brings horses back in 14-days. New shooter Departing might be his biggest competition.

Look out if Orb makes it past the Preakness but he will still have to beat fresh, talented rival Revolutionary at Big Sandy. That’s a discussion for another day.

Derby runner-up Golden Soul is pointing to the Belmont Stakes. He finished 2nd in the Derby because of the pace and will be an underlay in the Test of Champions.

My Derby selection Revolutionary, the top ranked contender on my Derby list since February, ran well to land the show on the first Saturday in May. I have not lost faith and he reminds me of my past Derby/Belmont picks Empire Maker and Union Rags.

Oxbow was too close to the rapid Derby pace and Normandy Invasion moved too soon. Both are players in Baltimore, especially the latter if Chad Brown opts to go in that direction.

Mylute took advantage of the fleet fractions and was in the show photo (finished 5th). If he runs in the Preakness, note that jockey Rosie Napravnik has plenty of Pimlico experience.

Will Take Charge was making a move with Orb in the Derby but Verrazano was backing up and stopped his momentum. The Derby was his first start beyond a mile and a sixteenth and he was coming off a layoff so it was not a bad effort finishing 8th.

Goldencents seemingly hated the Derby slop and will be part of the Preakness pace, especially if the track is fast.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Preakness 2013 Contenders

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his fifth straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G1 Kentucky Derby (wet track) and the strong finisher adapts to various pace scenarios. Red hot jockey Joel Rosario has been on a roll since the Dubai Gold Cup and he is an obvious major stretch player in Baltimore.

Departing (War Front) – Finished 3rd in the productive Louisiana Derby and overcame a wide draw to smartly take down the Illinois Derby. The Al Stall Jr. runner is a dangerous new shooter and it is nice to see him join the Triple Crown series.

Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s colt trained aggressively and moved too soon under Javier Castellano in the Derby. He needs to sit back with Orb and make a big late run in the Preakness. He is reportedly much more relaxed since returning to New York. His ultimate goal is the G1 Travers at the Spa in August.

Mylute (Midnight Lute) – LA Derby runner-up rallied to finish 5th on the first Saturday in May under Rosie Napravnik. Trainer Tom Amoss said that his Preakness status would be revealed on Saturday morning.

Oxbow horse

Oxbow was too close to the hot Derby pace – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – G3 Lecomte hero shows up for every dance and finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee can rate but went all the way in both career wins. His main problem is that he is usually not quick enough to grab the early lead.

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner finished a respectable 8th in the Derby. He did find some traffic but that is to be expected in a 19-horse field. Mike Smith will ride in the Preakness and he could improve 2nd off the shelf.

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Eddie Plesa Jr.’s colt was the talk of Florida earlier this year at the Gulf. The Holy Bull hero played second fiddle to Orb in the Florida Derby and finished a disappointing 15th on the first Saturday in May. John Velazquez will ride in the Preakness.

Preakness Dreamers:

Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Doug O’Neill’s quality early-pressing type seemingly hated the Derby wet track and the pace scenario did not help either. He earned a strong number in the SA Derby and is capable of big efforts on fast ground under the proper race shape.

Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – Smartly captured G3 Sunland Derby in his third career start. The Baffert trainee has plenty of upside but still lacks seasoning. He wisely passed on the Derby and has seemingly recovered from a minor hind foot issue. Worked 6f in 1:11.80 (1/3) at Churchill Downs on 5-7.

Street Spice (Street Sense) – Illinois Derby 5th place finisher seems up against it in the Preakness. He likely needs to find a softer spot to be competitive. Breezed 5f from the gate in 1:03.40 (27/33) at Arlington Park on 5-4.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Has lost all three starts this year and looks like a sprinter at this point. He will attend the Preakness pace before fading. Breezed 4f in :47.60 (5/35) at Churchill Downs on 5-7.

Vyjack (Into Mischief) – 18th place Derby finisher has now dropped two straight. He came out of the Wood Memorial with a lung infection and that hiccup probably cost him under the Twin Spires. He has talent but is not sharp right now.