Standing on the stage inside the tent with the giant Finlandia Vodka of Finland banner lapped on the roof, swarmed by a mob of reporters and photographers just minutes after a collective groan vibrated through the space occupied plenty of people and the smell of crab cakes and fresh oysters, Shug McGaughey pinpointed his only major concern.
“The only thing I’m concerned about with drawing the 1 is having to talk about it for two days,” McGaughey said of the inside draw Orb will start from Saturday in the 138th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
Such is life for the trainer of this year’s growingly popular Kentucky Derby winner.
Orb gives him that confidence. Rightfully so, considering how well the Malibu Moon colt settled into the Preakness barn in the Pimlico stable area.
Orb got his first look of the main track at Pimlico Wednesday morning, jogging once around with Jenn Patterson. McGaughey outlined a plan earlier in the week to take Orb to the indoor paddock under the ever-aging grandstand at Pimlico to get more used to his surroundings. He did just that, too, although the atmosphere Wednesday morning will be quiet a bit different that what he’ll see Saturday.
For the record Saturday’s Preakness attracted nine entrants, led by even-money morning-line choice Orb. Maryland Jockey Club oddsmaker Frank Carulli said he went back-and-forth in his mind over deciding the second, third, and fourth choices, eventually settling on Mylute as the 5-to-1 second pick. Rosie Napravnik, who cut her teeth in here in Maryland, swung him in that direction. Departing, who most likely figures to be the second choice, is next at 6-to-1 with Goldencents at 8-to-1.
The field for Saturday’s Preakness:
- Orb, Joel Rosario, 1-1
- Goldencents, KevinKrigger, 8-1
- Titletown Five, Julien Leparoux, 30-1
- Departing, Brian Hernandez Jr., 6-1
- Mylute, Rosie Napravnik, 5-1
- Oxbow, Gary Stevens, 15-1
- Will Take Charge, Mike Smith, 12-1
- Govenor Charlie, Martin Garcia, 12-1
- Itsmyluckyday, John Velazquez, 10-1