Kentucky Derby winner Orb arrived at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland yesterday to continue preparations for the May 18 running of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
Orb won his fifth straight race at the May 4 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, where the 3-year-old colt finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Golden Soul to give Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first victory in the race.
McGaughey has never won the Preakness and last fielded an entry in 1989, when Easy Goer lost to Sunday Silence by a nose.
“I’m here with the Derby winner, so I’m probably a lot more at ease than when I came in that time,” McGaughey told reporters yesterday at Pimlico. “We’re excited where we are.”
There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, which is scheduled for June 8 in New York. Belmont Park is Orb’s home track and he arrived at Pimlico yesterday by van, joining Goldencents, who shipped early last week after a 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
“When I came in ’89, we came in here on Tuesday. This year, I made up my mind I wanted to work him a day out from there and get him down here to try to get him used to his surroundings,” McGaughey said. “I want to school him in the paddock and not do too much at one time.”
Orb had a final half-mile workout on the Belmont track before leaving for Pimlico, covering the distance in a time of 47.18 seconds, the fifth fastest of 96 recorded at the distance yesterday morning. McGaughey said Orb’s workout was “nothing short of magnificent.”
“I couldn’t be happier with where we are,” he added.