No. 1: Can Orb Do It?
Before his colt even raced in Kentucky, Orb co-owner Stuart Janney III said he felt the Preakness would be a more reasonable test. This is a common refrain from those in the sport: the Derby's unusually large field -- up to 20, though only 19 this year -- makes for an unpredictable race.
Then, it rained. And rained. And rained.
The sloppy track further complicated the race, and hours before the horses went to the gate Janney worried that his would be beaten by an inferior competitor who happened to have a particular fondness for mud.
Then Orb floated away from the rest coming down the stretch, leaving little doubt about which horse was most worthy.
The Preakness is a quintessential middle sibling, often overlooked and hard to define. If the Derby is crowded and Belmont long (a mile and a half), the Preakness avoids a simple explanation.
What it demands, often, is a perfect ride. At just a mile and 3/16ths, it has punished late runners who were not in precisely the right spot to move at exactly the right time.
Orb won with a deep charge in Kentucky but has stalked the leaders before. The pressure will be on jockey Joel Rosario to quickly figure out how to handle this race once the gate opens.JOHN SOMMERS II / REUTERS