May 18, 2013
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Is Orb Really That Good?
As is always the case, the real hope at the Preakness Stakes is that the winner of the Kentucky Derby will keep hope for a Triple Crown winner alive. After surviving a thrilling battle in the muddy trenches of Churchill Downs, Orb will be in the hearts of all the racebook nutjobs regardless of who they back with their hard earned money. Can Orb come through as the favorite and give us our first Triple Crown Champion in 35 years?
Preakness Stakes Favorites
To put this in to perspective, the only horses who have won the first and second jewels of the Triple Crown in the past twenty years are Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, Charismatic in 1999, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003, Big Brown in 2008 and I’ll Have Another last year in 2012. So 35% of the last twenty Kentucky Derby winners have also taken the Preakness Stakes as well.
That kind of horse betting trend exists in a void so it doesn’t guarantee anything in particular, but it’s not impossible for Orb to be the first to cross the finish line at Pimlico. History isn’t necessarily on his side, but the vibe surrounding the horse racing world definitely is.
Especially when you consider that he blew the competition away at the Kentucky Derby.
Our overall desire as a community of fans to see another Triple Crown winner is a big reason why there’s a huge amount of hype swirling around Orb. It’s also why the odds on Orb have shriveled to EVEN; the public will lean heavily on the favorite and the oddsmakers are prepared for it. There’s an undeniable swell surrounding Orb for an extremely good reason and everything that we’re hearing about the horse says that he’ll be ready for the race.
Orb’s win a few weeks ago has the horse racing world buzzing for good reason. He’s homebred, dominant at these kinds of distances and – for those that don’t really understand the nuances of horse racing – he has the intangibles to go the distance literally and figuratively.
One of the big indicators of a horse being ill-prepared for the Preakness is its state of mind after the Derby. There’s a very short turnaround time between the two races, and Orb was reportedly calm and relaxed despite a harrowing race in challenging conditions. Stress can have a major effect on a horse, but Orb seems unfazed by all the hoopla we’re heaping on him.
Now, I understand the skepticism here. Dr. Doolittle is a fictitious character with mainstream appeal because the thought of being able to communicate with animals is ridiculous. Diagnosing a horse’s mood seems like a trivial exercise, especially when I can’t figure out a human female’s mood half of the time.
However, if you’ve ever bet on horses in your life, you know that a horse’s energy is pivotal to placing a good bet. That’s part of the reason they let you delve in to the paddocks. You can just tell when a horse is in a fickle mood.
Those close to the horse racing world beam about Orb’s overall temperament. He was one of the better bets at Churchill Downs because his training runs were buttery smooth. The “pressure” of the race didn’t seem to get to him. His relaxed attitude after the race and over the last few weeks has only given more momentum to those hoping he claims another victory.
The Race of the Black-Eyed Susans is a 1 3/16 mile race that will open the gates this Saturday, May 18th at 6pm EST. There are a few reasons to bet against Orb right now – namely that he drew the inside rail to start the race – but right now he is the prohibitive favorite for a very good reason. Orb should be a part of almost all of your boxes and parlays this weekend.
It’s easy to dismiss the idea of Orb winning the Triple Crown because we’ve been caught up in this hyperbole before, and last year’s boastful talks surrounding I’ll Have Another are still very fresh in our memories. I wouldn’t be that negative just yet.
Orb is the best Triple Crown candidate we’ve seen since Charismatic.