Posts Tagged ‘Triple Crown 2013’

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.

Kentucky Derby 2013 Day Analysis Recap

Thanks to everyone for purchasing my Kentucky Derby Day analysis from Churchill Downs last Saturday, May 4. For those who missed it, I have included highlights and analysis below.

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Kentucky Derby Day analysis highlights:
CD 1 Glamour Puss/Apropos Exacta ($14.60)
CD 5 BELLARMINE ($25.60), Trifecta ($317.20)
CD 8 STEPHANIE’S KITTEN ($9.80), Exacta ($28)
Daily Double (race 7-8, $51.40)
Pick 3 (race 7-9, $146)
Pick 3 (race 8-10, $69)
Pick 4 (race 8-11, $358.80)
Pick 5 (race 7-11, $325.10)

Kentucky Derby Day analysis from Churchill Downs (Saturday: 5-4-13)
By Jarrod Horak (,  
:  Showers (50% chance). High 61.
Best Bets (races 4, 9, 11, 12).

CD 1 (OC-62.5k/2x, 6f) #2 FIVE STAR MOMMA (4-1) scored in her local debut in 2011 and earned her best number to date in a Keeneland place finish April 6. Terranova excels 2nd off the shelf and I like her early-pressing versatility. #3 Glamour Puss (2-1) has fired Exacta shots in all five starts. She is 2-for-2 at this trip and Rosario rode her perfectly at Keeneland April 11. #1 Apropos (8-5) ran away from entry level foes at Oaklawn March 7 and the clear place finisher came back to score. She wins this with anything resembling her last. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Exacta 2/1-3, Exacta 2-3/1

CD 2 (OC-75k/1x, 7f) #2 GOMBEY DANCER (7-2) earned a big number in his 6f maiden win at Gulfstream Feb. 3. He disappointed in the G3 Swale but runs well fresh and fired a local bullet April 20. He reunites with winning pilot Lezcano, who is 3-for-3 with Kenneally recently. #8 Slan Abhaile (5-2) went all the way in his 7f bow at the Gulf March 30. Romans has him now and he’s an obvious outside speed threat. #1 River Rocks (3-1) is an inside pace factor at the very least. He won his lone start at this distance. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Exacta 2/1-8, Exacta 1-8/2

CD 3 (OC-80k/3x, 8.5T) #6 SCREENPLAY (3-1) has a nose for the wire on turf. He is 3-for-4 here, like this trip, and new pilot Rosario has options with the sharp, versatile sort. #5 The Pizza Man (3-1) is a turf win machine. He is 6-for-6 at this distance and won for his trainer Amoss at Fair Grounds March 21. #1 Old Time Hockey (5-2) lands the cozy rail and might be aggressively handled under Gomez. He likes this trip, needed his last, and meets a field without much speed. #2 Prime Cut (12-1) won his lone turf start at Fair Grounds Jan. 27 and has always had a touch of class. #7 Cavalero (10-1) packs a decent late kick and lands sharp turf rider Napravnik. He is 5-for-6 at 8.5f. THE PLAYS: #6 to win, Trifecta 1-5-6/1-2-5-6-7/1-2-5-6-7

CD 4 (MSW, 7f) #5 BAMA BOUND (6-1) broke 12th from the intimidating rail in his Keeneland bow April 7 and he ended up an okay 7th that day. Margolis excels with second time starters and barn $$ rider Bridgmohan sticks. #12 Troubadour Tango (5-1) was the beaten favorite in both synthetic starts and he missed by a head in his career bow. #3 Saint X. (3-1) has hit the board in three straight and the $450k purchase ran into the likes of Oxbow here last fall. #6 Esplendido (8-1) finished a respectable 3rd in his synthetic sprint bow and can improve second time out. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta 5/3-6-12, Exacta 3-6-12/5  

CD 5 (OC-75k/1x, 8.5f) #4 BELLARMINE (8-1) is getting better for McPeek. He handles any surface and ran well to land the place in his lone conventional dirt try at Gulfstream. #8 Code West (7-5) wisely skipped the Derby and has the class/speed to be a major player here. He figures to make his presence felt throughout for the productive Bejarano/Baffert team. No value here. #10 Ghost Hunter (6-1) might attempt a wire job and should be given extra consideration if a speed bias pops up. He won his 5.5f dirt sprint bow and finished 2nd to synthetic specialist and G3 Lexington hero Winning Cause at Keeneland last time. THE PLAYS: #4 to win, Trifecta 4-10/4-8-10/ALL  

CD 6 (G3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint, 5T) #4 GHOST IS CLEAR (9-2) could sit the right stalk and pounce trip under Rosario. The 2-time turf sprint winner consistently runs his race on any footing and Maker shows a profit synthetic-to-turf. #8 Icon Ike (3-1) is a late running turf sprint win type for the productive Napravnik/Jones team. He could easily make it three straight. #2 Havelock (7-2) just got there off the shelf under Gomez April 13. He has captured half of his ten turf starts at this trip. THE PLAYS: #4 to win, Exacta 4/2-8, Exacta 2-8/4  

CD 7 (G1 Humana Distaff, 7f) #8 BYRAMA (5-1) would have won the G1 Madison with a different trip. She broke slow from the rail and encountered traffic in that neck defeat. Rosario knows her now and she can tag there if able to handle dirt. #1 Jamaican Smoke (5-1) has speed to burn and easily won at this course/distance last May. She ran well in both Graded sprints and might not look back under Leparoux. #6 Aubby K (7-2) won the G2 Inside Information off a lengthy layoff and has had plenty of time to recover. She hails from a profitable, low profile barn. #2 Rumor (5-2) runs well fresh but she is 0-for-2 at seven panels and must prove that she can run a big race away from SoCal. THE PLAYS: #8 to win, Exacta Box 1-8, Exacta 1-8/2-6  

CD 8 (G2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, 8T) Honest fractions are expected with #3 Daisy Devine, #4 Frontside, #7 Karlovy Vary, and #10 Stopshoppingmaria vying for early position. #6 STEPHANIE’S KITTEN (4-1) has not been seen in more than six months but she is 2-for-2 over the local weeds and owners Ken & Sarah Ramsey have been rolling since Keeneland. She likes this distance and Leparoux does some of his best work with patient turf runners. #8 Marketing Mix (5-2) has not been seen in more than six months but runs well fresh. Gomez rides her well and she clearly has the class to win this for sharp layoff trainer Proctor. #5 Hungry Island (4-1) captured her Keeneland return April 7. She won this event last year and should get pace to chase. #3 Daisy Devine (3-1) is the best of the speed types. She usually fires Exacta shots on turf, except a fading 5th in this event last year. THE PLAYS: #6 to win, Exacta Box 6-8, Exacta 6-8/3-5 

CD 9 (G2 Churchill Downs, 7f) #5 UNBRIDLED’S NOTE (5-1) is 2-for-2 at CD and could sit the garden spot trip behind the speed. Asmussen’s consistent colt ran into crack sprinter Jimmy Creed (twice) at Santa Anita and downhill specialist Mizdirection in the BC turf Sprint. He fits well here. #2 Hierro (10-1) is also 2-for-2 here including the 2012 Derby Trial. He ran well in both starts this year for new trainer Pletcher and could move forward 3rd off the shelf. #9 Delaunay (2-1) is in the form of his life. He shoots for six straight wins and enjoys seven panels. #8 Trinniberg (8-5) flopped in Dubai March 30 and most U.S. horses need more time to recover from the long journey. I’ve never been a big fan of this horse but he likes this trip. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta 5/2-9, Exacta 2-9/5  

CD 10 (G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, 9T) #9 POINT OF ENTRY (7-5) looked great beating Animal Kingdom in his Gulfstream return at this trip Feb. 9. The classy turf marathon specialist is fresh and strictly the one to fear if he duplicates his last. #8 Wise Dan (6-5) was good but not great in his G1 Maker’s 46 comeback at Keeneland. He liked 9f in the past but has been a flat mile specialist since last August. He needs to relax early if he expects to win this race. All of his past success at this distance came on dirt and synthetic. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9-8

CD 11 (G1 Kentucky Derby, 10f) #3 REVOLUTIONARY (10-1) has been my top ranked Derby contender since February. He is 3-3 around two turns, has overcome trouble, owns a nice finishing kick, and Borel has won the Derby three times, including the 2010 renewal aboard Super Saver for Pletcher & WinStar Farm. Both CD works were impressive and LA Derby show finisher Departing came back to win the Illinois Derby. #16 Orb (7-2) is also 3-for-3 around two turns and shoots for his fifth win in a row today. He adapts to various pace scenarios and his work and gallop sessions have been impressive. Red hot rider Rosario has booted him home twice and he beat Revolutionary last fall but both are much better now. #5 Normandy Invasion (12-1) is sitting on a career top in his 3rd start off the shelf. He is training aggressively for this and won’t be as far back as expected. Castellano chose him over Revolutionary. His only good races occurred at the Big A. #12 Itsmyluckyday (15-1) is growing on me. He was fast earlier this year and his morning gallops suggest that he is back on top of his game. He can move forward 2nd off the shelf after landing the place behind Orb in the Florida Derby.  #2 Oxbow (20-1) finally draws an inner post but I’m sure Lukas did not want post 2 in Derby. He is best as a free runner and might attempt a wire job under Stevens. #1 Black Onyx (50-1) drew the dreaded rail. He is on the upswing and training well but must work out a trip from the worst possible post. He is a late scratch. #9 Overanalyze (15-1) never runs two alike but Bejarano is on a roll. #14 Verrazano (4-1) has been less dynamic with each passing furlong. The unraced juvenile has accomplished plenty this year but is no longer improving. #8 Goldencents (5-1) must relax at a distance that he is not bred to get. Lightning will not strike twice for O’Neill. #6 Mylute (15-1) would be a great story with Rosie in the irons. #4 Golden Soul (50-1) will be passing tired horses. With Black Onyx now scratched, I will use him underneath in the Trifecta instead. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-16, Exacta 3-16/5-12, Trifecta 3-16/3-5-12-16/2-3-4-5-12-16   

CD 12 (OC-62.5k/2x, 7f) #7 WILD TARGET (4-1) runs well fresh and Rosario hops aboard. He handles seven panels and figures to stalk the pace for sharp trainer Kenneally. #2 Rightfully So (3-1) earned a big number March 30 and the show finisher came back to score. He romped at this course/distance last fall. #4 Seven Lively Sins (12-1) hails from a deadly synthetic-to-dirt barn (Stall). He has won at this course and distance and should offer value. THE PLAYS: #7 to win, Trifecta 2-7/ALL/4  

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4/Pick 5 contenders – in order of preference


1   (2-3-1)
2   (2-8-1)
3   (6-5-1-2-7)
4   (5-12-3-6)
5   (4-8-10)
6   (4-8-2)
7   (8-1-6-2)
8   (6-8-5-3)
9   (5-2-9)
10 (9-8)
11 (3-16-5-12)
12 (7-2-4)