Haskin's Preakness Report: First Two Days in Photos

Following are images from the first two days at Pimlico. There has been little activity on the track, with only Goldencents galloping.

Orb in the traditional Derby winner's stall -- as alert as ever.

Orb knows a patsy when he sees one and Alison McGaughey loves spoiling the Derby winner, who would have gone right into Shug's office to get his mint.

Shug rarely takes his eyes off Orb.

Even when Orb gets rambunctious, he never rattles Jennifer Patterson, whom Shug credits a great deal for Orb's success.

Will Take Charge
The unmistakable blaze and left eye of Will Take Charge.

Itsmyluckyday strikes a majestic pose on his way to the track.

Orb meets a new friend, who was thrilled to pet the Derby winner. Only problem is, his new friend is Dave Kenney, co-owner of Goldencents.

Oh, Dave, here is your horse heading into the paddock...Dave, turn around...Uh, Dave...These Goldencents gents are a fun bunch who know how to have a good time. They're having a ball in Baltimore. And, yes, Dave is rooting for his horse.

Eddie Plesa arrived in Baltimore today and immediately headed to the barn to lavish some affection on Itsmyluckyday. The colt never moved a muscle.

Orb and Jenn Patterson have become the most recognizable couple on the backstretch.

Departing arrives Wednesday with the Kentucky contingent.

Another new arrival, Mylute, checks out the photographers as he heads to the Preakness barn.

Orb schools in the paddock. Cliche or not, Shug is leaving no stone unturned.

After a 12-hour trip from Kentucky Tuesday, Oxbow can't wait to get off the van. He was like a coiled spring on the track this morning.


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Gorgeous photos, Steve.  They all are beautiful and each tells a short story of the events taking place.  For so many reasons, I'm hoping for a TC with Orb, but oddly I'm a little more detached than I was last year with I'll Have Another.  I honestly and matter of factly think that Orb is a shoo-in to take it all.  Regardless, though, of how all of this turns out, I'm convinced he has a place in history reserved in his name.  Loved the photo of Shug watching his horse, like a painter admiring his work of art. What a special time this must be for Shug, the Phipps and the Janneys.  I wish them the very best, and wish for all of us the end of a 35 year drought.  

15 May 2013 11:27 PM

Fabulous photos here Steve.  Thank you for posting them.  It's a great field.  Love the first photo of Orb in the Derby winner's stall. Jenn Patterson sure has a cool job!

With Orb drawing the rail post I wonder if that makes it all the more lucky for ItsMyLuckyDay?  I am torn between wanting to see a TC attempt this year and wanting Lucky to win another grade I.  Anybody know how many Preakness winners there have been from Post 1?

1.  Orb

2.  ItsMyLuckyDay

3.  Oxbow

Good luck to all.  May they all come home safe.

15 May 2013 11:28 PM

Great photos Steve, the image of Ms Patterson standing tall on Orb passing the post in his last workout before the Derby is something I will never forget. I was just awed!!

As much as you wish everyone the best, I do hope Orb sustains his momentum and takes the Preakness.

16 May 2013 2:58 AM
lunar spook

alex'sbig fan- if i did my homework correct only one horse from the one hole has won the preakness in the last 52 yrs , tabasco cat in 1994

16 May 2013 8:29 AM
Proud Acres

Orb is so majestic.  Hope he pulls it off, it may be harder from the 1 hole but if he is what they are all saying it should be ok.  Go orb.

16 May 2013 8:55 AM

Like always, EXCELLENT!! Always looking forward for your articles,THANK YOU.

16 May 2013 9:45 AM
Pedigree Ann

Oxbow has such a cute face. I'm sure I could never oppose any of them if I saw too many pictures. Or saw them in person (not likely).

16 May 2013 9:55 AM

One look at Orb and you can tell that even he knows he is a champion who has a date with destiny in a few weeks when he ends the triple crown drought.

16 May 2013 10:10 AM
Karen in Texas


Since 1920 there have been 8 Preakness winners from post position 1. The most recent was Tabasco Cat in 1994. One interesting aspect of this post position is that Triple Crown winners Whirlaway, 1941; War Admiral, 1937; and Gallant Fox, 1930, all started from this position. (Whether there was a "gate" or not.) The consensus on several blogs seems to be that Orb will not be hampered by starting toward the rail. I, too, would like to see IMLD do well--at least be in the top three.

16 May 2013 10:31 AM
Bethany Loftis

Thanks for the great pictures! They all look amazing! Pedigree Ann- completely agree about Oxbow! I absolutely love his intelligent look in his eye! I really love the picture of "Lucky" throwing his head into Plesa's arms for some loving. Absolutely priceless! Orb and Jen seem like they have a pretty special relationship between them judging from the pictures and videos of them together. I wish them all the best of luck this Saturday and may they all come home safe!

16 May 2013 10:45 AM

Can't wait for Oxbow to get a taste of the track. Hope you spot it Steve(I'm sure you will) ....he finally gets a decent post to work from ...I think he'll make it interesting ...

16 May 2013 10:51 AM
Love 'em all

You just keep spoiling us with all these wonderful pictures, Mr. Haskin.  We just love 'em!

My fav has to be the closeup of Oxbow.  First time I've seen him this close!  He's even more adorable than I thought ... and so bright-eyed.

Departing is quite THE handsome colt and looks so business-like.  

When I see them like this ... I wish they could all win!  I feel guilty having favorites.

However, speaking of favs ... these three are the ones for me!




"Little JB" is going to get third like Jackson Bend did in 2010.  I feel it in my bones.  

16 May 2013 10:56 AM
Fred and Joan

As small breeders in Oregon we appreciate the beautiful pictures of the Preakness contenders and this Saturday it will be tricky to watch our own home bred horse race at Sunray Park and the Preakness on the same day! We enjoy seeing the different locations the horses are photographed in. We hope Orb wins the triple crown and thereby vindicates the old school way of training and breeding racehorses.

16 May 2013 11:46 AM

I think it's interesting that Orb's exercise rider & handlers are women!  Notice how calm Orb always seems & they don't use a lipchain on him until race day.  Don't see that too often!  Girl power for the Triple Crown!  Maybe it will help change the gender bias in the racing industry. Anyone know how Orb tore his right nostril?  Not a new injury...looks old or maybe he was born that way.

16 May 2013 12:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I wonder if the one hole will have any effect on Orb the Magnificent and the trip he gets? Does he overcome any trip for the win or is there enough talent in someone to just hold him off. I just get the sense that it won't be all that easy. I do think that for someone else to win that they are going to have to steal it while Orb gets a very difficult trip that he can't quite overcome in time. Kind of scary to think that Orb the Magnificent is an improving horse that is likely just getting started. I will have him on top of an exotic and also try to beat him in an exotic for the riches over history in one bet, and bet the destiny in another bet. Good luck to all and a safe trip for all.


    Thanks, I appreciated the feedback.

16 May 2013 1:41 PM

Thanks for the great updates, Steve!  One question - why is Orb training in the paddock?  Will Shug not saddle him outside in the tradition of the Preakness?  Or do horses start in the paddock no matter where they're saddled?

have a fun Preakness all!

16 May 2013 2:43 PM

Looking at the photos on details, Departing looks impressive. I will like to see a triple crowned before it's over for me, 71yo. Emotionally I'm with my fellow countryman Johnny V. Good and safe trip to all.

16 May 2013 4:00 PM

Eddie Plesa and Itsmyluckyday brought tears to my eyes. Please God, protect your innocent creations and the jockeys who guide them, hold them in the palm of your hand until they are safely back in their stalls! Also, if You could just give Orb that little something extra, well, lots of us would be super happy!

16 May 2013 5:09 PM

Wonderful pictures Steve, thanks for sharing.

This year might just might be the end to a long drought, it would be great for racing. Orb looks incredible, like a special horse, in what has shaped up to be an unusual Preakness. Can't say I remember when so many of the race's participants were also in the Derby. And where are the local stars? None this year seems very unusual.

Can't wait to see how special Orb really might be.

16 May 2013 5:13 PM
Criminal Type

I love the look on Orbs face in the first photo. It should be captioned "thats right I belong here". Also the photo of Orb, looking decidedly put out, and Dave Kenney. Orb says "don't BS me Dave, I know who your horse is". Can't wait till Saturday. I have been having premonitions all week...On wendesday morning I said to my husband, Orbs gonna draw the rail, I feel it. When I got home that evening, I logged on and there it was Orb Draws Rail !! Now, if the rest of the premonition comes true, He will be wearing black eyed susans on Saturday. GO ORB ! (gonna play him with departing, mylute, will take charge and Itsmyluckyday in a super box, etc.)

16 May 2013 5:27 PM
Ida Lee

Thank you so much for the photos. What beautiful animals they all are and each is kept in perfect athletic condition. Verrazano was my Derby horse but I was not overly surprised at Orb's win. This is one talented horse. I just have a sense of destiny with Orb and see a TC in our future. How exciting will that be for this sport and its fans! I can hardly contain my excitement. Having said that, I just want all these boys to have a great race and come back to us safe and sound.

16 May 2013 7:20 PM

Steve : Thanks for the photos, I love all of Jennifer Patterson's pics.

16 May 2013 9:15 PM

OH and yeah, the horses too...nice looking animals.  Go Jennifer!  I hope she wins the Preakness.

16 May 2013 9:17 PM

"ORBROCKS"...that's my new password . for the next 30 days! The 3/4 fraction in this race is bound to be much slower.....perhaps 1:11 4/5.....making the finish a little trickier for ORB. This is a hard race to make any profit on. Bet low my friends!

16 May 2013 9:19 PM
The Deacon

Beautiful photos Steve, as always you captured the moment.

Barring any injury or bad racing luck Orb is clearly the best here.

Govenor Charlie with only 3 lifetime races is not seasoned enough for this campaign along with 8 weeks off.

1. Orb

2. Goldencents

3. Will Take Charge

Best of luck to all..........

17 May 2013 1:47 AM

Steve -- Thanks so much for taking us to Pimlico with these wonderful photos!  I posted the top one, of Orb in his stall, on my FB p., with a link of course to this blog, and a girlfriend asked me if those were eucalyptus leaves twining around Orb's hay rack. If you have a moment, I'd be very curious to learn what those leaves are -- eucalyptus or something else -- and what special purpose (if any) they serve.  Is Orb especially fond of them or are they thought to have special medicinal or other properties?  Many thanks and I also very much enjoyed your story about the ill-tempered colt Preakness and his even more ill-tempered owner!  

17 May 2013 3:57 AM

Great pictures Steve!  Thank you!  Orb looks great!  Love the sweet picture of Itsmyluckyday too!     SLEE - I read that Shug is going to saddle Orb in the indoor paddock instead of out on the turf course where there are traditionally saddled....

17 May 2013 10:01 AM
Soldier Course

Three Triple Crown winners started from PP #1 in the Preakness? That's an interesting addition to those of us keeping track of the "3" coincidences with Orb. A total of 9 Preakness wins have come from the #1 hole, so that means a third of those went on to win the Triple Crown. Another "3".  

Your photos are grand. But I'm at that crazed stage now where I just rushed past all of the ones who weren't Orb. Maybe I'll go have three Woodford Reserves with branch water and start smoking again like Three Chimneys.

17 May 2013 3:30 PM
Soldier Course

Carry Back won the Preakness in 1961 starting from PP#1. Like Orb, Carry Back had a late-running, heart-stopping running style. His sire, Saggy, handed Citation his only loss during the 1948 Derby Prep campaign. Saggy stood at Country Life Farm in Maryland, as Orb's sire Malibu Moon once did.

17 May 2013 3:59 PM
Linda in Texas

Orb and Oxbow both look like they are "Dreaming of Julia" in their photos. Both are so finely shaped in their Foreheads, Faces and Noses and i love their soft eyes.

And Mylute, looks healthy, so also

Departing. I really like the heavy structure of the shoulders melding into their legs. To me the heavier muscle mass beginning at the shoulders extending to their legs means the more support they have when they race and helps them not break down so easily. They carry over 60 per cent of their weight on their forequarters. Imagine the pounds of pressure that the forelegs have to withstand.

The muscle mass in my opinion thus helps ease the pressure from their coronets to their gaskins as they place their hooves on the tracks in full out speed. I am not an orthopedist nor a vet. I may be full of superfluous non information just opining. If a horse is heavy and well built but has thin bony legs, i worry.

To see a horse, in my opinion, with heavy forequarters will determine the length of their stride, the smoothness of their gait and the soundness of their legs from their coffin bone to their scapulas as they put so much strain on them with each forceful ground pounding stride.

The horses running in The Preakness all look healthy. I wish them all well.

And Mr. Plesa and Itsmyluckyday are truly bonded. I think ItsMyLuckyDay was saying "Boss i missed the wire at Churchill, so sorry to dash your Triple Crown wishes and saying this race we will give it the old college try, it was a tricky deep gooey track" and Eddie is thinking "it was my fault, i should have trained you on one just like it." But at a tender moment like Steve's timely photo shows,there is nothing like the love of a horse by a human with the same no doubt returned by the horse.

I love them all. And best wishes for safe journeys to the jockeys, horses, owners and trainers.

And i second captainsmistress's

prayerful request regarding their safety.

Thank you Steve.  

17 May 2013 5:15 PM
Karen in Texas

Soldier Course,

The most complete source I could find while researching the post positions for previous Preakness winners shows Carry Back starting from gate #4 in 1961. It shows Bally Ache in gate #1 in 1960. I found the Triple Crown connection interesting as well...


17 May 2013 7:10 PM

Karen In Texas & Soldier Course,

Thanks for the info.  

Criminal Type,

Loved your take on what Orb is "saying" to Dave Kenney!  It's goes perfectly with the expressions on their faces! Don't you live in Maryland?  Are you going to the Preakness?  

17 May 2013 8:25 PM
Terri Drennen

I just have that 'feeling' about Orb. Why? Look what female family line he is from and resembles, and even has the running style of. From the line that created the greatest filly/mare ever, Ruffian. I am so happy to see that the Janney's kept this line going, pure, strong, and look now what we have. And doing it the old school way. Not the big commercialized breeding farms that are literally ruining the industry with the over and inbreeding of horses, but we have a great, old school trainer in Shug, who deserves this. Orb even looks like Ruffian in so many way, his facial structure, his style star, his rear left only white sock, that has all come down the purity line from Shenanigans, dam of Ruffian and Laughter, who Orb comes down the line from. This family excels at Belmont, and if this boy can make it at the Preakness, I will be screaming for him as he flies by the resting place of his great-aunt, Ruffian, where she rests at peace in the infield at Belmont, to win the TC! We have not had a worthy candidate until now. I truly believe we finally have one now. Old school. Bring the horse racing industry back to what it once was. Go ORB! A safe trip for all, as well.

17 May 2013 9:56 PM
Forbidden Apple

Steve, thank you for the photo's of the mighty ORB.

Itsmyluckyday is not a grade I winner, but he is the only horse that could beat ORB.

Race 11 and 12 double at Pimlico might offer a little betting value. I'm playing the Phipps double, Imagining/ORB.

17 May 2013 11:08 PM
Soldier Course

Karen in Texas:

Thank you for the correction about Carry Back's PP in the Preakness. The source I had for the information in my post had stated that there had been only one winner from PP 1 since 1961. I misinterpreted that to mean that 1961's winner Carry Back had run from PP1.  

19 May 2013 1:23 PM

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