Haskin's Preakness Report: Final Observations

This year’s Preakness is all about Orb. And then there are his eight opponents, most of whom are worthy adversaries, with a case to be made for any of them to step up and run a big race. Big enough to beat Orb is another matter.

You can look at the race from a selection standpoint or a betting standpoint. We really haven’t had a chance to see much serious training at Pimlico, with Orb working at Belmont Monday, walking at Pimlico Tuesday, jogging Wednesday, and galloping Thursday. Of course, his gallop was flawless as usual, and he once again is showing all the signs of a horse who hasn’t even come close to bottoming out, as indicated by his coat and the flesh he’s still carrying. And he still has that edge to him.

If his opponents want to try to find anything to inspire hope it’s that he really has never come home fast, fraction-wise, in any of his five consecutive victories. But part of that could be his tendency to relax a bit once he makes the lead. That’s not to say it makes him vulnerable. You could compare him to a fighter who has a spotless record, with most of his victories coming by decision or TKO rather than a one-punch knockout.

They can also hope the 1-hole will somehow compromise his chances, and while that is always a possibility, all indications are that Orb will drop back to last in the nine-horse field, perhaps some eight to nine lengths off the lead this time, assuming the pace is legitimate, which it should be. Once Rosario gets him settled in last, he should have the option to go around horses again when the time is right.

Pimlico does a tendency to favor strong horses who can separate themselves from the field, just as Shackleford did against Animal Kingdom. And just as Bodemeister did last year. Even though he was narrowly beaten in the final strides, he made I’ll Have Another work hard to catch him. Many Kentucky Derby winners who scored with a big late run from back failed to duplicate that winning run in the Preakness, such as Animal Kingdom, Mine That Bird, Street Sense, Giacomo, Monarchos, and Fusaichi Pegasus since 2000.

Expect to see Orb start picking up horses earlier and at a faster rate. You don’t want to give him too much to do on those turns if a horse like Goldencents or Govenor Charlie, or Itsmyluckyday or Oxbow should happen to get separation from the field.

The two intriguing horses in here are new shooters Departing, who should be making his rally fairly close to Orb, probably a couple of lengths at most in front of him, and Govenor Charlie, who has brilliance and the ability to carry his speed. But he hasn’t raced in eight weeks and has only three career starts, in which he really hasn’t beaten anything of note. We really don’t know how good these two horses are.

When anticipating position, remember, it all depends on the pace, and we know Orb has the ability to lay closer if the pace dictates that strategy.

With everything seemingly going perfectly once again, it would be very difficult to pick against him. He just has too much going for him.

But if you’re intent on trying to beat him, we’ll offer up two observations regarding the little training we’ve seen.

Goldencents bears no resemblance to the horse we saw training at Churchill Downs before the Derby. Although his gallops were strong, he never seemed fluid or as relaxed as he should be, often tossing his head around. Between his nutrition program and physical therapy, and most of all jockey Kevin Krigger getting up on him every day and teaching him to relax, a new horse has emerged, one who appears to be more professional, more relaxed, and there is no head movement at all. And he’s been motoring down the stretch at a sub-two-minute lick, while running straight as the proverbial arrow.

Now, whether that all equates to him knocking off Orb is anyone’s guess. All we’re saying is that he has made tremendous strides since the Derby.

We also have to make mention of Itsmyluckyday, whose last work at Monmouth was very similar to Orb’s last work at Belmont and every bit as impressive. Since arriving at Pimlico, his coat has blossomed and he is carrying excellent flesh, indicating the Derby did not take much out of him. Now all he has to do is return to his early season form, in which he rattled off back-to-back triple-digit Beyers and back-to-back negative Thoro-Graph numbers.

From a trip standpoint, you cannot ignore Mylute, whose Trakus figures have him running some 8 1/2 lengths better than runner-up Golden Soul and third-place finisher Revolutionary. And he was pinched at the start, causing to drop far off the pace. In the stretch, he was widest of all and running over the chewed up part of the track. Expect a big effort, with Rosie Napravnik returning home to Maryland. But he is second choice on the morning line and there probably won’t be a lot of value with Rosie aboard.

Finally, we come to the two Wayne Lukas horses, Oxbow and Will Take Charge. The latter took the worst of it when rallying stride for stride with Orb, only to run smack into a tiring Verrazano, who backed up right in his face, forcing him to steady and veer to the inside to avoid him. You simply cannot stop on a 17-hands horse like that and expect to get him started again.

As for Oxbow, he made his early move into the teeth of those suicidal fractions set by Palace Malice, wound up vying for the lead too early, as the others just stopped abruptly, and although he finished sixth, he was the only horse anywhere near the lead to finish in the top half of the field.

As for the new shooters, we’ve been impressed with Departing’s style of running and how he accelerates away from his opponents with smooth, fluid strides, and the way he wins under wraps with his ears pricked. His third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby was much better than it looks, as he had to hesitate in the stretch, just enough to break his momentum. Once he leveled off again, he was moving well in the final yards.

The best case you can make for Govenor Charlie is the series of brilliant six-furlong works he’s coming off and his brilliance and apparent natural ability. But as mentioned, there is the question of inexperience and lack of racing over the past couple of months.

So, there you have cases to be made for everyone but Titletown Five, who is an unknown factor and who is attempting to stretch way out in distance and against far better horses than he’s been facing. We expect to see him in the King’s Bishop at Saratoga.

So, based on what little observations we’ve made at this point, we would put Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday, Departing, and Myute (despite the low odds) with Orb in the exactas and trifectas. And perhaps throw Oxbow in for old time’s sake. Of course, that means you can be sure Will Take Charge will finish second.

For a win bet only at decent odds, we’ll take a shot with the two worst finishers of the Derby in this field, Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday (who basically were allowed to coast to the wire), based strictly on what we’ve observed.

But the pick, of course, has to be Orb.


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Aside from Orb, all the talk has been about Departing. I absolutely love his sire, War Front, but he has never even remotely had offspring that have come close to winning at this distance on dirt. He;s had brilliant runners (The Factor), middle distance runners up to 1 1/8 miles on dirt (Soldat) and middle distance winners on turf (Data Link), but 1 3/16 miles? I believe Departing is essentially a miler who is able to stretch out to nine furlongs, but I think 1) he'll be overbet to use behind ORB in exactas, and will try and use many others to finish ahead of him at this distance.

17 May 2013 1:41 PM
lunar spook

I am starting to think goldencents is a one hit wonder , sorry steve cant back him my play will be a trifecta of #1 #9 #7  GOOD LUCK TO ALL AND LETS PRAY FOR A SAFE TRIP !

17 May 2013 2:29 PM

Reminds me of Zenyatta, who never won by a wide margin, but she always did what she had to do. Her ability to go wide by 5-7 paths and circle the field kept her out of trouble, even though she obviously would travel farther than the rest of the field. She could run fast when she needed to and her stride length was so incredible.  

Maybe that's why Orb comes out of his races in such good shape, still progressing and not emptying the tank.  His ability to relax and be very professional is so impressive. He is showing so much promise, I guess there's always the possibility we have over-estimated this colt.  Makes me want to rub my eyes and question what I'm seeing -- is he really that good!?  If he happens to win the Preakness, and by a wide margin, the 3 weeks leading up to the Belmont will have him walking on water!  I choose to believe he is "that good" and that the journey will be extended a little farther with a decisive win in the Preakness.  Anything can go wrong, as we saw our hopes dashed last year with an injury.  Should he be successful tomorrow, I guess we all will hold our collective breath until he slides into the starting gate at Belmont.  He doesn't have to win it all, I just want to see one horse get the chance to at least get into the starting gate to contest for the Triple.

17 May 2013 2:57 PM

Although I rarely post my thoughts on the blog I have read all your columns and viewed the videos.  And Your Off is just so great to watch.

Thank you for just the best writing and photos in every one of your stories.

Makes My Day!

17 May 2013 3:14 PM

Thanks for the analysis, Steve!

IMO Orb is by far the best, only a bad trip, or God forbid an injury will stop him from winning this race. It's about 2nd, 3rd and 4th places. I got to with Itsmyluckyday, Mylute, and Departing. Key those with Orb in 1st, Exacta, Tri and Super. Govenor Charlie is a huge question mark for me. Oxbow is a suckers bet, never betted on him and never will. I don't fully buy the Will Take Charge's Ky derby trip excuse. Titletown 5, toss. Goldencents I just can't use, he's my overlay here.

Good luck! Go Orb!

17 May 2013 3:24 PM

I tell you what I just watched the derby replay a couple times and Will Take Charge was rolling stride for stride with Orb coming around the turn and when they straightened out he had to check really bad and it was over for him after that.  If this thing sets up good for Orb then it should set up good for him too and he'll have some nice odds sitting on his nose.  If Titletown Five breaks and gets out he'll burn up the front runners and There is your exact right there Orb/Will Take Charge.  Toss in Oxbow on the bottom or a nice trifecta.

17 May 2013 3:38 PM

Orb!  Of course!

17 May 2013 4:16 PM
The Deacon

Excellent observation Steve.

My picks are

1. Orb   already beat many of these

2. Goldencents  obviously didn't like the slop

3. Will Take Charge  not sold on him yet

Itsmyluckyday misses Florida, Govenor Charlie has only 3 lifetime races and a 8 week layoff, that is concerning.

Orb is much the best in my book.

I can find many more reasons to love Orb then I can the rest of the group and I can find a lot more reasons to dislike the rest of the group then I can Orb.

17 May 2013 4:24 PM

I am still not sold on Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday going a distance of ground.  Grade I sprinters look like a million bucks galloping in the morning also.  That doesn't mean they can translate those good looks into a top finish at the classic distances.   I think Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday will be found going shorter distances before the year is out.

17 May 2013 5:00 PM
El Kabong

Excellent Steve, thanks for the insight. Here we are again, and in reality, I think Orb's Kentucky Derby win was less dominant than many who returned to get beat as you have pointed out. It's what I've been trying to concentrate on, not because I wouldn't love to see TC fever in NY, but more because you have to learn from history not to be caught up in the wishes if you want to pull off a winning bet Preakness Saturday. The condition of the track will effect my betting and I have to look for the value in WTC who I think will be bet down but he's fresh and looks like a game challenger. Thanks for the insight on Goldencents. I think if the track stays fast, he too is a real danger. Your notes seem to make that case much more possible. The slop didn't help him last out so looking for a step up if track stays in good condition. Good luck to Orb, the industry and NY could use the excitement. Here's to remembering our dear friend Barbaro too. Can't come to Baltimore without hanging my head for a second or two.

17 May 2013 5:33 PM

Thanks for your excellent as usual observations! Would love to see you as a turf writer for a major newspaper so that casual or non racing followers could experience the pageantry, compelling story lines and what I consider the finest window into this wonderful game. Times sure have changed but Orb  has recaptured plenty of past glory not seen at this level in many years. And for the first time, at least for me since Spectacular Bid, I will be pretty shocked if Orb doesn't win. Having experienced enough personal losses, I'm usually more cautiously optimistic when sending out a standout but in this case, from everything witnessed since the derby win, workout, coat, appetite, on the muscle, smooth but solid gallops, etc., etc., Orb towers over this field and most probably over the entire 3 year old crop. What would not shock me is seeing something extra special tomorrow. Rosario has the power to get him beat but this kid is making the right decisions and knows to keep him closer on this normally speed favoring track (at least historically) and have to figure he pounces on them at the quarter or 3/16 pole and that giant stride sends him romping home.

17 May 2013 6:08 PM

I just have to put Govenor Charlie in my trifecta.  In watching the Sunland Derby many times, the horse ran on the outside where according to Garcia, he is most comfortable, and just exploded in the stretch, and set a track record.  He galloped out several lengths ahead of the other horses.

Govenor Charlie's pedigree is replete with speed and stamina top to bottom. He is a thoughtfully and beautifully bred horse and I thank his breeder for that.  I really like Pegram.

Of course I love Orb, but I don't think he will win going away.

Orb, Govenor Charlie, and Will Take Charge, not necessarily in that order.  I may put Itsmyluckyday in the mix also.        

17 May 2013 7:09 PM

If you use Orb as the one to beat, my way of thinking is that the ones he has already beat wont be able to beat him two weeks later.I know we all look for reasons why so and so didnt run well, and we convince ourselves that they are doing so much better now than they were before the KDerby,but IMO as long as the race is run cleanly without any unexpected occurences only the three he hasnt beat have a chance.I wouldnt bet too much on any of the new shooters especially Tittletown Five who to me is a rabbit who could compromise the whole makeup of the race in terms of a stretched out field 1st to last and then if Orb finds himself in last with too many lengths to make up he might complete the exacta instead of keying it.

I think you use Orb and bet exotics but everyone is doing the same so you are going to get paid a chalky amount similar to last year which I didnt mind collecting as a hedge for my other bets, in case the Derby winner didnt win the Preakness.

As far as the Belmont in 5 weeks time from the Derby to the Belmont a lot more can change IMO to these 3yo colts than the two weeks we are deaking with tommorrow.

17 May 2013 7:29 PM

sorry orb but the 1-post curse and fresh horses to face puts you third behind charlie and departing. time for baffert to salvage something of the triple crown, an experience that has been truly miserable so far.

17 May 2013 7:46 PM
Age of Reason

Looks like the rain forecast in Baltimore tomorrow has been upped to 50%, according to one source I read earlier. *evil smirk* Perhaps the racing gods aren't behind Orb this year as much as the rain gods! I wonder if there's ever been a year in which all three Triple Crown races were contested on a wet track?...I'm no racing historian and can't speak for every Triple Crown attempt since Affirmed, but I can't shake this incredible impression that the stars are aligned in this year like never before; if Orb can't take home all three then we may never see it in our lifetimes. Orb to win, and after that I'll be rooting for my little buddy Oxbow--just for old time's sake. Love to Shug and the team!

17 May 2013 7:47 PM
Don from PA/DE

Thanks Steve, it is a horse race after all so I am open..."Cold hearted "ORB" that rules the night, removes the colours from our sight, red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which (horse) is right, and which is an illusion" box orb, and 1-5-9- tri box and 1-5-9-2 super box. OM enjoy

17 May 2013 7:56 PM
:46 Breezing

Love that Baffert and The Gov are under the radar at 12-1.   Baffert's a great layoff trainer.  Remember the training job he did with The Gov's sire Mylute heading into the '07 BC Sprint ? BRILLIANT.  

The Gov is lightly raced and the 'who did he beat' questions are legit.   But Baffert is a 30 % win trainer (in over 80 starts) in route graded stakes off a 1-2 month layoff.  AND he and rider Martin Garcia are a 26 % (19-72) in dirt route G.S, including a Preakness win.  

The Gov is getting my vote for VALUE.  

17 May 2013 8:18 PM

Cheering for Orb and his "family". How could you not?

I think his running style is much like Secretariat's...able to go wide and run his race.

Hard to believe it has been 40 years since his Triple Crown victory. It just warms my heart when I read the pedigrees of all these horses and see that they go back to Big Red.

Racing and the country need a hero.

Thanks Steve for all your articles and pictures...there is no better advocate for racing than you.

Safe trip for all horses and jockeys on Saturday.

17 May 2013 9:46 PM

I don't think we've seen Orb's best race yet. The Preakness really sets up for him well too. Lot's of speed/press the pace types in here. Goldenscents, Governor Charlie, Titletown Five and Oxbow are all speed type runners and Itsmyluckyday likes to press the pace close up. Orb will sweep by them and win by 4 lengths with Will Take Charge, Mylute, and Departing chasing him home. Itsmyluckyday could bounce back here and hold on for a piece. Orb's the real deal...a real T.C. threat.

17 May 2013 10:53 PM

Thanks, Steve, for your pics, updates and final comments.

Orb has continued to move forward and will handle this field.  Joel will need to look for a good position as some of his colleagues will try to keep him boxed in.  John Velasquez knows better than anyone what it will take to beat Orb and will stalk, pounce and try to put some distance between Itsmyluckyday and the charging Orb.  Looking for the same finish as the Florida Derby.

Orb to win

Ex. Box Orb/Itsmyluckyday

Tri key Orb over Mylute/Oxbow/Will Take Charge/Itsmyluckyday

Good Luck to everyone.  GO ORB!  One race at a time.

17 May 2013 11:28 PM

There are a few fairplay ways that Orb can be beaten in the Preakness: 1) Itsmyluckyday has the quality to stalk the leaders, get first run turning for home and win by daylight. This colt ran no race at all in the Derby, is bursting at the seams with fitness and is still potentially one of the top three colts in America right now. Do not be surprised to see him turn the tables on Orb quite easily; 2)Will Take Charge is the one colt in this field that could outduel Orb in an ensuing stretch battle. He has powerpacked strides that just eats up the ground and he'll be much better for having run in the Derby where he was surging stride for stride with Orb before being stopped at the top of the Derby stretch. Orb's stretch run holds no terror for Will Take Charge. In fact he could stalk Orb and conceivably outrun the Derby winner to the wire; 3) Govenor Charlie is a huge unknown quantity. Most analysts believe that the pace will be very different from that of the Derby (I'm not too sure about that) but this Baffert trainee is the one in here capable of a wire to wire effort; 4) Departing is another colt that looks like a very good one in the making that is rapidly on the improve. Like the good ones, we can see that he has a habit of winning his races (losing once in the Louisianna Derby). It would be fun to see him chastise the Churchill Downs tyrants that droped the Illinois Derby from being a qualifying Derby prep by winning this 2nd jewel of the Triple Crown.

Goldencents should make some noise but I cant see him staying the trip with a honest pace expected to be set by Titletown Five. Oxbow under Gary Stevens is a pace factor in the race but will definitely not finish in front of stablemate WTC, IMLD or Orb in here.

17 May 2013 11:38 PM

Nice article Steve.  Thanks for the final Preakness observations.  Good luck to Orb, Lucky, Oxbow, et al.  

Love the sportsmanship Bob Baffert is showing in recognizing Orb's talent despite his own Preakness contender.

Good luck to all betting and may they all come home safe.  Barbaro is smiling down upon Orb saying, "my friend the 3 letters of your name are within my name, go and finish what I could not."

RIP Barbaro.

1.  Orb

2,  ItsMyLuckyDay

3.  Oxbow

17 May 2013 11:43 PM
By a long nose

You picked 8 of the 9 horses. Thanks for the tremendous insight and handicapping, as always.

17 May 2013 11:58 PM
Sam Santschi

Interesting that the "special" Preakness double has IMlD and Goldenscents at the two shortest prices after Orb.  

18 May 2013 12:35 AM
Mike Monarchos

It's Orb, Mylute, Govenor Charlie, and Departing for the super. Go Orb!

18 May 2013 1:33 AM

In the last ten years four have won on or close to the lead. All of the rest have been won by closers. The speed goes out in 23and change 45 and change(once) to 47 and change then they hit the wall, and the closers win 6 of ten. My top 4, Orb, Will Take Charge, Mylute, Departing. Think the speed will take themselves out of the game.

18 May 2013 2:34 AM
Fran Loszynski

Congrats to CJZ stable for the Ms. Preakness stakes win! I'm Mom 's Favorite at Pimlico.   My pics Steve still stand with a watch out for Gary Stevens(good luck George-Seabiscuit)   Orb Governor Charlie and Goldencents but Gary you go!

18 May 2013 2:43 AM
Mike from Michigan

Happy Preakness Day all!  They won't catch 'Govenor Charlie' today folks, this horse is freaky fast.

18 May 2013 8:03 AM

Orb has won his last five races by a combined 8 3/4L; an average of 1 3/4L per race. Has he been doing just enough to win or has he been the only classic closer in his races? Most of the horses he has defeated surrender leads in either upper or deep stretch.  Golden Soul and Mylute appear to be the only horses that have closed any ground on Orb during his current win streak. Despite Orb’s five race winning streak, his average winning margin does not suggest he is unbeatable.

It is clear the colts with tactical speed do not have the resolve to repel Orb's challange. Consequently, his defeat will likely come at hooves of an opponent that will be neither one pace nor backing up in deep stretch.  

Mylute closed from far back to secure 5th place in the Derby but as usual was one pace to the line. This has been his MO in graded races. His lack of capacity to find extra to get the job done does not inspire confidence. It will require a perfectly timed race by Rosie to get him across the finish line in front.

Will Take Charge has tactical speed and is likely to be ahead of Orb heading into the final bend. For his long strides to be effective he needs a strong pace upfront and this will be provided by at least 4 in the field. Two of his three victories were achieved coming off the pace. Can Orb out run him if he gets first run? He never runs back to back bad races and was the only colt entering the Derby off 7 weeks. He might just lack the requisite class.

Departing has the best race record entering the Preakness. 3 of his 4 victories were achieved without the performance enhancer Lasix. It was administered for his last victory that saw him being wide on both turns and in hand approaching the line. This was the best 9F race preceding the Derby. This colt had two half mile works of 50 at CD after his IL Derby victory. His half mile work prior to the IL Derby was 47. It has been reported that he has been a ton to handle in exercise and must be bursting at the seams. With Lasix being administer for the 2nd time I fully expect this gelding to depart from the Preakness field for comprehensive victory.

18 May 2013 8:39 AM


Anyone seen that video yet? Orb is such a great horse. Looking forward to seeing how things play out today.

18 May 2013 9:31 AM

Preakness ,5/18/13, Pimlico R-12, 1 3/16m, dirt:





will we all be in Orb(it) with excitement for a triple crown, or will we feel the (m)Orb(id) loss of another chance after the Preakness? I guessing the later.

18 May 2013 10:00 AM
steve from st louis

Can't see anyone costing Orb, except a covered up trip, Oxbow second throughout.

18 May 2013 10:09 AM
Pedigree Ann

Queekstraw in disguise-

WTC doesn't have the pedigree for 10f; I would have expected his fast-twitch muscles to give in about the same time Normandy Invasion's did (another bred for the mile range).

Most of the time, you get what you breed for and WTC is bred for 8-9f. Big brother Take Charge Indy has a better distance sire (A.P. Indy), yet he can't hack it at more than 9f. Good as she was, Take Charge Lady outran her pedigree with class; she has a sprint-y pedigree and it holds her sons back.

18 May 2013 10:42 AM
Ted from LA

1. Orb

2. Mylute

3. Governor Chuckie

4. Departing

Getting my flight to NYC at 6:24 PM tonight.  Sherpa, get yours too.

18 May 2013 12:36 PM

Perhaps, the Triple Crown is never meant to be anymore. Wonderful result for DWL and Gary Stevens - the best you can be.

18 May 2013 6:43 PM
Ted from LA

I need to start betting the dogs.

18 May 2013 6:47 PM
Fran Loszynski

Congrats Gary and Oxbow Mr. Lukas!  I guess when I wrote Good Luck George (the scene from Seabiscuit) you took it to heart.  Great race. The Seabiscuit gods were watching Gary today.

18 May 2013 6:58 PM
Bob from Boston

Box the 5 Derby horses in the High Five and win 32 grand.  It seems so simple now.

18 May 2013 7:04 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Now you naysayers know why Mr. Haskin has continued to tout Oxbow and why he had Itsmyluckyday number one for while. They're good. Haskin knows talent. And you might find out in the Belmont why he had Revolutionary number one. Way to go Stevens and Lukas. The old men are taking over.

18 May 2013 7:15 PM

Congrats to D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens and Calumet on Oxbow's front running score.  As I posted before the Derby, Oxbow's best races were on the lead or just-off. With splits of 23.94, 24.66, 24.66, 24.88 and 19.40 for the final 3/16th, Oxbow just cruised.  Gary did a great job of slowing it down or as he said; "walked the dog."  

Orb got a lousy ride from Joel.  Brian Hernandez on Departing kept Orb in tight on the deepest part of the track around the Clubhouse turn but when they turned into the backstretch, Orb began to put himself into those slow fractions and he was approaching the leaders with a good head of steam nearing the 4 1/2 f pole when TTF came back up inside of him and Joel tightened up on Orb at that point, maybe not wanting to put him into the leaders with 4.5f to go. Orb resented that and pulled back and Joel, never able to get him to the outside, had a hard time getting him back into the race.  Bad move to take him off his roll Joel.  Orb knew they were 'walking the dog' up front and he wasn't going to let it happen but Joel yanked Orb's leash; game over.

John Velazquez said after the Florida Derby that he had to steady Orb around the final turn, give him a short breather, before he put him down to go after and pass Itsmyluckyday.  JV said at the time that he was worried Orb was moving to quickly, too early.  It worked that day.

Today, Orb, in deep on the rail and then being pulled out of his run to the leader putting down slow fractions on a slow track, chucked it in.  I think Orb knows what to do out there.  Hopefully, if he goes to the Belmont or wherever he runs next, they'll let him run his race.  On to the Belmont      

18 May 2013 8:32 PM
Mister Frisky

Hi Steve,Hope you had a "saver" on Oxbow,for old time sake.

18 May 2013 11:47 PM

What were the two white things that fly up around Orb? One at the top of the stretch and one at about the middle, just before he split horses and picked up to get fourth?

19 May 2013 2:00 AM

The race wasn't that slow -- 24 quarters get better the farther they go. Oxbow looked to me to be striding best as they came to the wire and I felt he was still ready to find another gear if something came to him.

24ing them to death is a good way to win the Belmont!

Congrats, Steve. You could see it. But did you bet it? I had a friend who used to drive me to the track and fetch for me just to listen to me musing. He could tell better than I could when I was trying to talk myself into something and when I was on it.

Fans of Steve: we must learn to do likewise!

19 May 2013 4:59 AM

It would appear Shug should have taught Orb how to run down in with horses on each side of him.  He backed off in that situation in the Preakness.  With those very slow fractions he should have won off by ten lengths or more....were he as good as touted before the race.  A great horse finds a way to win.  No excuses.

19 May 2013 8:24 AM
Jean in Chicago

 Congratulations to Oxbow, Gary Stevens, and Wayne Lukes.   I have been surprised to see Oxbow in black and gold instead of blue and devil's red.  I thought Mr. Kelley had bought the rights to Calumet's old colors.  (But maybe this isn't possible.)  Anyway, nice to see another Woodlawn Vase go to Calumet's trophy room.  May this be just the first of another long line of great horses.  

 Oxbow really does have a fine pedigree. (I am a great interpreter of pedigrees after the fact.  Someday maybe I'll learn to do it BEFORE the horse wins.)

19 May 2013 11:21 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Giacomo was a 'fluke' after winning a very closer favoring Derby. In fact, the 2005 Derby Flow was the most favorable in at least the last 22 years, until two weeks ago.

Orb received a more favorable Derby set-up than Giacomo did. This fact was posted here well in advance of Saturday.  Despite the perfect trip, Orb was deemed the second coming.

Some compared the 2012 Derby splits with those of 2013.  The flaws in that view were posted here well in advance as well - there was no similarity in the two races from our perspective.

Horses running lifetime bests under perfect scenarios should always be viewed with skepticism.

19 May 2013 11:53 AM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann,

Right you are. Perhaps he just relished the slop on Derby Day but WTC had no excuses yesterday and did what you predicted. I think your right on Normandy Invasion as well. On to NY and I hope this brings out a slew of challengers. No pun intended.

19 May 2013 12:18 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Dr. D.

Trackjack, I did not have a saver on Oxbow, but miracle of miracles I did have the trifecta for a $1,030 payoff. No one trained better and progressed more each day than Itsmyluckyday and Oxbow and they certainly ran to that. I liked the way GGoldencents was training as well, but there was always that question of distance and I was very surprised he didnt go for the lead and then let Oxbow crawl out there. with his pedigree, I felt Oxbow was going to be super tough on a clear lead and then when those fractions came up, that was pretty much it. 

19 May 2013 2:55 PM
Fran Loszynski

I had alway admired Gary Stevens for the blame he seemed to express about Point Given. He had tears in his eyes and now listening to his press conference after the Preakness he seemed to give all the credit to Oxbow how he ran his "own" race makes you think back to how Secretariat ran his "own" race and Gary said this race he was the passenger. You know Gary maybe these horses love you  and give it their all because you value them so dearly.

19 May 2013 5:31 PM

Congratulations to the connections and to you on the trifecta Steve!  I wanted Itsmyluckyday and Goldencents if Orb wasn't gonna win and thus go for the triple crown.    Jean in Chicago - I read that the rights to the Calumet silks were sold to a racing operation in Brazil in 1992 so I guess they cannot be used here anymore....  :-(

19 May 2013 7:05 PM

Tried to post this previously but ran into an error.  Please excuse if this is a duplicate.

Steve, congratulations on hitting the tri.  Good for you!  

I broke one of my cardinal rules in wagering.  I keyed Orb over Oxbow, Itsmyluckyday, Mylute and Will Take Charge for the tri.  I was sure Orb was going to win.  My wife reminded me that I should ALWAYS box my bets.  What is that saying; "There is only one sure thing about horse racing........?"  

19 May 2013 9:34 PM

Say what you want about any of these horses. Bottom line is pace makes the race.. The old vet Stevens took it to the younger jocks and put his horse on the front end and jogged to the 1/4 pole. It was over from there. Why Krigger allowed Gary to take the lead when he could of had it is mindblowing. Gary, the vet that he is made sure he stayed in the 3 & 4 path. Realizing the rail was dead all day. Bottom line. Great ride by a veteran jock. I had my doubts about Mr.Stevens but he made me a believer now. Congratulations!!

19 May 2013 10:54 PM

Jean, disagree with you on Oxbow's pedigree; not a great pedigree.  He is a nice horse, but he stole the race. He will not steal the Belmont. Itsmyluckyday is the horse that can win the Belmont.  I did win a trifecta, so I'm okay.  I still like Govenor Charlie, but he likely will not run in the Belmont.

19 May 2013 11:35 PM

Gee, Steve, even YOU do it?

That wasn't Trackjack. The "saver" question was from Playmistyforme. As I have done and many others, you picked up the author of the preceding post.

Would it be hard to move the signature inside the box or not equidistant between two posts?

Glad you had 'em.

20 May 2013 4:09 AM

Remember these words of wisdom next year. Steve nails it.

"Pimlico does [have] a tendency to favor strong horses who can separate themselves from the field, just as Shackleford did against Animal Kingdom. And just as Bodemeister did last year. Even though he was narrowly beaten in the final strides, he made I’ll Have Another work hard to catch him. Many Kentucky Derby winners who scored with a big late run from back failed to duplicate that winning run in the Preakness, such as Animal Kingdom, Mine That Bird, Street Sense, Giacomo, Monarchos, and Fusaichi Pegasus since 2000.

Expect to see Orb start picking up horses earlier and at a faster rate. You don’t want to give him too much to do on those turns if a horse like Goldencents or Govenor Charlie, or Itsmyluckyday or Oxbow should happen to get separation from the field."

20 May 2013 4:56 AM
Love 'em all

Racingfan -

Thanks for the info on Calumet silks.  Had read that info before (at least it sounded familiar) but couldn't find it mentioned anywhere.  Kept finding articles that said the decision of the Calumet silks was still up to The Jockey Club.  Never could find a picture of Jon Court riding in last year's KD to see just what he was wearing that day with Optimizer, but was pretty sure the silks were not the old Calumet colors.  Thanks again.

Cheers to Oxbow ... the little mighty one!  Let's hear it for the "Os", once again.  Anybody going with "O"veranalyze for the Belmont?  So far, the "Os" have it!

Cheeri-O-O-Os! Hope General Mills takes note of this.  

20 May 2013 9:13 AM
Tiz Herself

I had a rare treat on Saturday when at Northlands Park to catch the full card of live Thoroughbred racing but also the simulcast feed from Pimlico.

While none of my bets won, the few times that I picked a horse from the program that did win I had no money on which is how it goes right? The one horse in particular was a gorgeous chestnut gelding in a maiden claiming. A son of elite sire Giant's Causeway and out of the Dixieland Band mare Grand Gala. This horse was bred by Phipps Stable and had I had the $7000 to claim this horse I would have done so. Of course he won by daylight, stalking the pace setter and taking command turning for home and it was all she wrote.

His female family, Social Charm's second dam is Fantastic Find, dam of Finder's Fee, Tax Ruling, etc. Third dam Blitey produced Dancing Spree, Furlough, etc. It was a rare treat to see and there was not a doubt that he was the winner of his race that afternoon.

It was unfortunate that on the same day in Pimlico that the other more known Phipps Stable co-bred Orb did not win the Preakness, but take nothing away from Oxbow. He shook loose and did not look back. Congratulations to Gary Stevens, D Wayne Lukas, Calumet Farm and connections. I had two of four right in the super as had Orb and Itsmyluckyday, however did not have Mylute or Oxbow in that order.

At any rate I have a new favorite in Social Charm to keep track of.

20 May 2013 10:29 AM
lunar spook

OK FOLKS , its time for a reality check now , goldencents had his 15 minutes of fame at santa anita an everyone jumped on the bandwagon , well guess what folks ? the partys over hes not a has been hes a never was !

20 May 2013 11:15 AM
Pedigree Ann

Jean -

All the previous Calumet trophies were sold for the bankruptcy. They are on exhibit at the Kentucky Horse Park. There is no continuity between this owner of the property and the Wright/Markey family, whose stock made it a household name.

Usually when a farm changes hands, it changes its name to reflect the new owners. Col. Bradley's famous Idle Hour Stock Farm was cut into several piece; the core section became the Galbreath's Darby Dan Farm and the other pieces became Danada Farm and the King Ranch property. Greentree Stud became Gainesway when Mr. Gaines bought it.

Mary, I don't know how you conclude that Oxbow doesn't have that good a pedigree; maybe because it is low on fashionable names? But his sire Awesome Again won the BC Classic, among other races, and is the sire of Game on Dude, Ghostzapper, etc. His dam is a full sister to Tiznow, Budroyale, Tizdubai (G2 winner), SW and sire Tizbud, and the dam of Paynter. This is rock-solid 10f breeding. The mating between Cee's Tizzy and Cee's Song was genetic magic of some sort that one can't predict.

20 May 2013 11:25 AM
Linda in Texas

Started getting a funny feeling when Zoe Cadman interviewed Lukas and he said "this would be his 6th Preakness if Oxbow won." I immediately double checked Oxbow's  racing number and it was SIX. Immediately texted my friend in New Jersey and apprised her of the fact. Also Gary won a good race with Skyring before The Preakness. Fate was set! Amazing.

But my horse Itsmyluckyday was fully extended trying to get him, just ran out of real estate!!  But i am happy for "lucky day." No mistake.

And Gary Stevens great ride, thought you had made a mistake taking off so early. Where in the world did Oxbow come up with all that energy? No doubg Racing Gods had already decided the winner!

And so good to have a Calumet Farm Horse win again. Congrats to all.

While listening to the jockeys being interviewed after the race, every single jockey said his horse could not find energy to catch up.

Either track was too deep or some reason.

And above all Steve, glad you cashed in for some green ones$! And thank you so much for your coverage and photos. What color is Oxbow in horse?(person?):)

20 May 2013 1:11 PM
steve from st louis

Mary, your comment about Oxbow not having a great pedigree indicates you know little  about throughbred breeding. I don't know how else to say it.

Actually, you won't find a better bred horse than Oxbow anywhere.

First, he is by Awesome Again, who won all six races he entered in 1998, defeating champions Silver Charm and Skip Away in the Breeders' Cup Classic. His lifetime record was 9-0-2 in 12 starts.

He sired a few runners you may have hear of: Game On Dude, Paynter, Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and additional Breeders' Cup winners Ginger Punch, Round Pond and Wilko.

Oxbow's dam, the unraced Tizamazing, is a full sister to two-time Breeders' Cup winner Tiznow as well as Grade II winners Tizdubai and Budroyale. That's royalty bred to royalty. What are you looking at when you consider Oxbow ordinary?

20 May 2013 2:22 PM
Linda in Texas

To Err is Human-To Forgive is Divine

The signatures are just fine where they are. Been the same way for eons on all the blogs! One can always post it inside themselves.

Linda in Texas

20 May 2013 2:55 PM
Little Bill

TNT Stud bought Calumet colors.

20 May 2013 7:58 PM
Scott's Rail

thanx Steve from S.L.  go to the Unbridled Song foal Tizamazing is watching over, in the video.  Tizamazing looks super. And was sold at auction for a MILLION a few years ago.  In the video you can almost tell, she saying "keep your distance, this one could be special too!"  Not bad for a Cal-bred Broodmare.  I new G.S's wasn't in it for 1-2 races, just didn't have the right combo when it came time.  On to Elmont...

20 May 2013 10:11 PM
Scott's Rail

And to P.A. Where do these people get there "Insight on Pedigree".  I have to admit, I missed the Oxbow thing, beware of the "want the TC thing" It was kinda there, G.S, DWL, Pedigree, really legit KD. Probably the biggest ++++ was the pedigree.  Thanx Steve for the hard work.   We really appreciate it

20 May 2013 10:25 PM
Pedigree Ann

Scott -

Go to the Blood-horse main site, look for 'Pedigree Analyis' on the right side of the 'Thoroughbed Breeding' section. There you will find the columns by the BH's pedigree mavens about many horses, including prominent classic candidates. Free of charge.

22 May 2013 11:48 AM

Because of Orb's storied connections people thought there was light at the end of the tunnel as far as a triple crown winner. Even the pundits bought into it hook, line and sinker. You can come up with all the excuses in the universe, but it remains this is one of the toughest and elusive feats in all of sports. Everything has to come together and be duplicated over a five week period not taking into account the outside influences that affect the outcome, those events that are out of your control. Five weeks? That's like a lifetime and yet it is a fleeting moment in time. Paring away those that look at these three races as just another excuse to party (as if they need an excuse in the first place) the mystique of the triple crown will continue to lure the faithful regardless of how many disappointing bumps remain in the road. And so it is on to 2014.

22 May 2013 3:20 PM
Greg R

Please, let's stop looking at these classic races as endless failed attempts to win the Triple Crown.  A Derby winner is a Derby winner.  A Preakness winner is a Preakness winner, etc.  Sure, a TC would be amazing, but I'm getting tired of the perpetual murmur of disappointment that forms the background of all TC discussions.

Linda in Texas, I, too, was really pleased that Luckyday redeemed himself in the Preakness!  I knew that if the real Luckyday showed up, he could give a good account of himself, win or lose.  He ran a little wider than Oxbow, so he probably ran just as fast as the winner.  Not sure if the Belmont will be his cup of tea, though.  I see the prospective Belmont field as giving us a wide open race.

22 May 2013 11:54 PM

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