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Preakness Underdogs: Which Horses Have the Best Shot to Beat Orb?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Post positions have been drawn and the field is set for the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes this Saturday, May 18.

The field of nine contains six horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby, including runaway victor Orb. Orb overcame the 16th-post position and a sloppy track to cruise to a 2 1/2-length victory. The colt was near the back of the pack coming into the final turn but turned out an impressive victory, and he is now the heavy favorite heading into the Preakness Stakes.

Let's take a look at five horses that may potentially seize the glory from Orb at the Preakness Stakes:

Mylute:

Mylute comes into the Preakness as the fifth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby. He earned a $60,000 payout and will be vying for a better finish at Pimlico on Saturday. He stayed near the back of the pack for much of the Derby before moving to the outside and passing his competitors as they tired.

Earlier this year, Mylute used a similar strategy for a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, finishing a neck behind Revolutionary (third place in Derby). A smaller field should help Mylute come from behind in the Preakness.

Oxbow:

Oxbow will be competing in his seventh consecutive graded stakes race this Saturday at the Preakness -- and his sixth this year. He won the Grade 3 LeComte, placed fourth in the Grade 2 Risen Star, placed second in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, and finished fifth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby before coming in sixth in the Kentucky Derby. He was vying for the lead against Normandy Invasion with a quarter-mile left to run before tiring and dropping to sixth place at the finish line. He finished nine lengths behind Orb.

He is coming in at 15-1 odds for the Preakness and the slightly shorter distance (1 3/16 miles) may help, but it would be a longshot for Oxbow to win at Pimlico.

Will Take Charge:

The winner of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, Will Take Charge ran into traffic at the Derby and was unable to pull into contention. He put in a valiant effort, navigating on the outside of a five-wide pack of horses with a quarter-mile left to run. He finished the Derby in eighth place, two places behind his stable mate (both trained by D. Wayne Lucas), Oxbow.

Will Take Charge had previously beaten Oxbow by a head in the Rebel Stakes. If he can get clear of the much smaller pack in the Preakness, Will Take Charge has a chance to pull out the upset.

Itsmyluckyday:

Itsmyluckyday is coming off a tough finish in the Kentucky Derby where he finished 15th out of the field of 20. He broke in the middle of the pack at post position 12 and ran a strong race through the first six furlongs before tiring. The muddy track was unfavorable, and the Derby was the worst race of his career.

Don't count him out, though. Itsmyluckyday had decisive wins in the Gulfstream Park Derby and the Grade 3 Holy Bull earlier this season. He finished second behind Derby winner Orb in the Grade 1 Florida Derby in March.

Goldencents:

After an encouraging win in the Santa Anita Derby, Goldencents had a disappointing Derby trip, finishing 17th. He battled with Palace Malice for an early lead but eventually faded to the back of the pack. He has finished in the money in five of his seven career races. Look for him to bounce back at the Preakness Stakes, though he likely will not have enough speed to catch Orb.

The field for the Preakness is not as wide open as the Derby was. Orb will be the heavy favorite on Saturday and is expected to take the win. He battled from a poor post position and rough track conditions to a decisive victory at the Kentucky Derby. If he races to his potential he should win going away, but these five other horses are definitely capable of pulling off an upset.

Brianna Brooks lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
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