COMMENTARY | Orb would have been a deserving favorite in Saturday's Preakness Stakes even if he hadn't turned in a dominating performance in the Kentucky Derby. Any ticket that doesn't have Orb to win -- or on top in any exotic bet -- is probably a poor investment.
That said, Orb will likely go off at odds in the neighborhood of 2-5. So if you're among those who insist on trying to beat that kind of favorite, here are five horses who are capable of finishing first in the Preakness and derailing Orb's bid to win the Triple Crown:
Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Jockey: Kevin Krigger
If you liked Goldencents heading into the Kentucky Derby, you may want to back him here as well. Goldencents didn't appear to like the surface at Churchill Downs, which could be a legitimate excuse for his 17th-place finish. His No. 2 post position is a plus, since he will likely try to take an early lead. If you think he can handle the distance and you're willing to excuse his Derby performance, this might be your horse.
Jockey: Rosie Napravnik
His fifth-place finish in the Derby -- he was a neck from finishing third -- was encouraging. He's also improving, as his last two races have been his best. This is another horse that should benefit from the 1 3/16-mile distance, but Napravnik is attempting to become the first female jockey to win the Preakness. Mylute is winless in three tries this year and has only two victories in 10 career stars. He's not better than Orb so he'll need some racing luck, but if he takes another step forward a victory is possible.
Trainer:D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Oxbow was part of a hot early pace in the Derby and held up better than the other frontrunners, but still faded to sixth and was beaten by nine lengths. He has plenty of experience on his side with Stevens and Lukas. Stevens has ridden two Preakness winners, and Lukas has trained five. A more favorable pace could leaving him in position to win, but he'll need to be better to beat Orb.
Trainer: Eddie Plesa Jr.
Jockey: John Velazquez
Like Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday didn't like the "peanut butter" track at Churchill Downs, so you may want to draw a line through his Derby effort in the past performances. He was the Florida Derby favorite, a race that included Orb. He also adds Velazquez as a rider (Elvis Trujillo rode him in the Derby), but the distance is a question. The sobering fact is Itsmyluckyday has faced Orb twice and ran behind him each time.
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Martin Garcia
Governor Charlie has had some health issues, so he may be the biggest X-factor in the race. He's fresh, sine he's one of three horses in the field who didn't run in the Derby. Like Lukas, Baffert has saddled five Preakness winners. He's improving and will pay a big price.
How to bet $100: An $80 win ticket on Itsmyluckyday, and a $10 exacta box with Itsmyluckyday and Governor Charlie.
Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader.
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