Get Ready for the Preakness Stakes

The second jewel of the Triple Crown is upon us.

With the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby in the books, the focus of the horseracing community now shifts to Pimlico Race Course for the annual Preakness Stakes.

As you’d expect, all eyes are on one horse as the Preakness draws near – Orb, the winner of the aforementioned Kentucky Derby.

Led by Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, Orb made history at the Derby by giving McGaughey his first-ever win at Churchill Downs. That storybook finish – combined with Orb’s fantastic run down the stretch to capture the roses – has many thinking a Triple Crown is definitely within reach.

McGaughey sure thinks so.

“If Orb runs his race I think they’ll all have him to beat,” said the 62-year-old said on a national teleconference call. “It’s my job to get him fresh and ready again.

“We don’t need anything fast, just something that puts his mind back on what he’s doing. Then, we’ll get him to Pimlico and get him acclimated. There’s not much else we can do.”

It should be noted that in addition to the Kentucky Derby, McGaughey has never won the Preakness in his career either. So he’s got extra focus heading into the Preakness Stakes.

Here’s some other horses to keep an eye on:


Oxbow finished a disappointing sixth at the Kentucky Derby, but according to owner D. Wayne Lukas, will still be ridden by jockey Gary Stevens at the Preakness.

“Gary is learning more about Oxbow every day, and he is a difficult horse to ride, because he’s so aggressive and so responsive,” Lukas told “[At the Derby], Gary saw the rail open up and he moved a little early on him, but that horse ran huge. I thought both of them did.”

Lukas talked extensively about how aggressive Oxbow is, which can be a blessing and a curse. The renowned owner is hoping that aggression will be a blessing at Pimlico.

“We’ll live with it and go on to the Preakness. The most important thing for a horse trainer is to have a bad memory. Both horses pulled up excellent and I’m looking forward to the Preakness.”


Arguably the biggest disappointment at the Kentucky Derby was Goldencents, and many are expecting a bounce-back performance from him at the Preakness.

He finished a woeful 17th and looked lost at times during the Churchill run, but trainer Doug O’Neill chalked it up to the sloppy track conditions.

“I really think it was the footing,” O’Neill told Daily Racing Form. “I know that’s a lame excuse, but the last half-mile was in 53 seconds, so it wasn’t ideal footing. Fortunately, he came out of the race well. Thank God, Kevin [jockey Kevin Krigger] did a smart job taking care of our guy.

“It shows the horsemanship of Kevin, and the love he has for Goldencents, that once he realized it wasn’t his day, he took care of him.”

Goldencents was sent directly to Pimlico from Churchill and has been practicing steadily as the race draws near. It’s a similar strategy O’Neill used with I’ll Have Another in 2010, who captured both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

About Tennessee Leduc

Born in Summersville Kentucky, Tennessee is an impassioned fan of horse racing, women, civilized debauchery, and... mint juleps. He writes, he reads, he listens, but above all he experiences the world he lives in.

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