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Blog - GAMBLING

Orb rallied through the center of the stretch to win the Kentucky Derby (above). He will try to score a second classic win on Saturday in the Preakness, this time starting from post position one. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire) 

After his Derby win, the following appeared in our blog about Orb’s chances in the Preakness:

You can talk about horses all you want, the biggest threat to Orb’s hopes in the Preakness seemingly has little to do with his competition. As proven in all four of his wins in 2013, this horse needs to be outside where he gets a clear run – a bad (inside) draw, along with the right (wrong) combination of competitors around him, could spell trouble for the impressive Derby winner. 

And then, in the blink of an eye on Wednesday, the Kentucky Derby winner was installed as an even-money favorite for the Preakness, drawn against the pine in post position one at Old Hilltop.

Is it terrible? No.

Is it ideal? No. 

Is the draw, alone, the greatest likely impediment to Orb winning the Preakness? Yes.

Orb has covered more ground in his four wins this year than any almost every other horse in those races. He has a long, fluid stride, which has been allowed to flow freely with the benefit of wide runs, out in the clear and away from trouble. In some ways, Orb remains “untested,” in that he has always covered extra ground but never really had to overcome any significant trouble in running. We don’t know if Orb is indeed an equine Superman. The Preakness could go part of the way in answering that question.

As much as this blog has harped on the fact that “ground loss matters,” it is always necessary to remind that the running styles of certain horses dictate that wider can be better on occasion. For the most part, ground loss matters because in many of the tracks where Trakus is installed, studies of data in aggregate have shown that the average winner DOES cover the shortest trip.  Say what you want about horses racing in the clear, out of trouble. When the average winner is covering a shorter trip than the average second-place finisher - straight on down through the also-rans - saving ground is a good thing.

But Orb isn’t the average horse, and the Preakness isn’t the average race.

The chances of Orb getting in trouble in the Preakness are amplified by the draw but mitigated by the smaller field size and the presence of several horses expected to go forward to certify a solid pace (Govenor Charlie, Goldencents, Titletown Five). The strong early gallop in the Kentucky Derby was identified as one of the reasons the race was relatively clean, with really only Will Take Charge encountering a move-stopping hindrance in the form of a tiring Verrazano.

On paper, the Preakness’s expected pace should certify that Joel Rosario can maneuver Orb to their preferred spot in the clear at some point.

Horse racing is a superb experience, and vexing topics such as this make racing all the more fun to follow. The near two minutes of the Preakness, and the hours of build-up to the race, leave us with a mind-bending tease in Baltimore. Good luck and enjoy!

2013 Preakness Stakes

Saturday, Pimlico Race Course, 6:20 p.m. ET

1 3/16 miles, 3-year-olds

PP Horse Trainer Jockey 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 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 9-1

PREAKNESS: GET IN THE GAME

Image Description

Pat Cummings

Pat Cummings is the Director of Racing Information for Trakus. Based in Boston, Mass., Trakus provides full-field in-race tracking, instantaneous motion graphics, and real-time information to racetrack operators worldwide. Trakus is currently installed at racetracks in the USA, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Data analysis from Trakus appears on Twitter regularly @TrakusRacing.

Cummings also serves as the editor of DubaiRaceNight.com, a comprehensive website covering racing in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. He has covered the Dubai World Cup on site each year since 2007 and provides selections for the entire season of racing in the United Arab Emirates and full-card analysis for all racing at Meydan. He also is the North American correspondent for Al Adiyat, a Dubai-based weekly racing publication.

Prior to joining Trakus, he worked for seven years in the financial services industry, and has served the racing industry in various capacities since 1999.  Pat was the backup announcer at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) from 1999 to 2009, and also has called cards at Atlantic City Race Course, Louisiana Downs, Lone Star Park, Manor Downs, and Monmouth Park.

A member of the Turf Publicists of America, Pat earned his MBA from Baylor University in Texas and a BA from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

 

Image Description

Pat Cummings

Pat Cummings is the Director of Racing Information for Trakus. Based in Boston, Mass., Trakus provides full-field in-race tracking, instantaneous motion graphics, and real-time information to racetrack operators worldwide. Trakus is currently installed at racetracks in the USA, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Data analysis from Trakus appears on Twitter regularly @TrakusRacing.

Cummings also serves as the editor of DubaiRaceNight.com, a comprehensive website covering racing in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. He has covered the Dubai World Cup on site each year since 2007 and provides selections for the entire season of racing in the United Arab Emirates and full-card analysis for all racing at Meydan. He also is the North American correspondent for Al Adiyat, a Dubai-based weekly racing publication.

Prior to joining Trakus, he worked for seven years in the financial services industry, and has served the racing industry in various capacities since 1999.  Pat was the backup announcer at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) from 1999 to 2009, and also has called cards at Atlantic City Race Course, Louisiana Downs, Lone Star Park, Manor Downs, and Monmouth Park.

A member of the Turf Publicists of America, Pat earned his MBA from Baylor University in Texas and a BA from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

 

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