BALTIMORE — Orb came up short in the Preakness, frustrating everyone who made the Kentucky Derby winner a 3-5 favorite – no one more than trainer Shug McGaughey.
“I’m disappointed,” McGaughey said after Orb finished fourth and Oxbow pulled off the upset Saturday.
“I’ll be more disappointed tomorrow than I am right now. I know the game. It is highs and lows. Probably more lows than highs.”
McGaughey and Orb were certainly on a high in the two weeks since the Derby. The colt had trained sensationally ahead of the Preakness, fanning hopes that a horse was finally going to end the Triple Crown drought that dates back to Affirmed in 1978.
Orb needed a Preakness win to set the stage for a Triple try three weeks later in the Belmont Stakes. He couldn’t deliver.
Orb broke from the rail and didn’t seem comfortable being surrounded by horses.
In the Derby, Orb unleashed a breathtaking rally around the final turn, circling the field on a sloppy track to win by 2½ lengths.
But there was no explosive move in the Preakness, only a mild kick in the late stages to make a dull effort appear a little better than it was.
McGaughey will take Orb back to his home base at Belmont Park and figure out the next move.
NO ROSY ENDING: Rosie Napravnik had to settle for a third-place finish in her first Preakness.
Napravnik won her first career race at Pimlico and was hoping to become the first female in history to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. A poor start aboard Mylute spoiled the plan.
“He was very sluggish out of the gate for the first quarter of a mile,” Napravnik said after Saturday’s race. “Then he got going. I was too far back to see who the leaders were. This was a tough pace to follow. But he ran great down the lane and closed well.”
Trainer Tom Amoss had no complaints.
“We were probably at the biggest disadvantage of all, coming from way back and being the widest in the race,” Amoss said. “We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.”
NO HISTORY MADE, PART 2: Kevin Krigger was attempting to become the first African-American jockey to win the Preakness since 1898.
He finished fifth aboard Goldencents after riding second behind winner Oxbow at the three-quarters pole.
“I thought Kevin had him a great spot and when the winner kicked there, we just couldn’t keep up with him,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “I’m very proud of Kevin and the horse.”