They likely won't recognize each other Saturday as they go to the gate for the 138th Preakness.

Orb, the Kentucky Derby winner, and Departing, a horse some believe could be the only one capable of ending this year's Triple Crown chase in Baltimore, will be thinking of nothing but running. They will be two of nine horses trying to get to the front.

Before they ever officially became racehorses, they were just two of eight horses in a field on the Kentucky farm where they were born. Shortly after being weaned from their mothers, they were given their own paddock to roam at bucolic Claiborne Farm outside of Lexington, Ky.

More than 25,000 foals were registered with the Jockey Club in 2010. Not even 400 were nominated for the Triple Crown races as 3-year-olds this year.

"Our owners have great mares and breed them to top stallions," said Bradley Purcell, a lifetime resident of the farm who recently became its manager. . "But to have this situation, where two babies were together like that and now running in a Triple Crown race? Not something we usually think can happen."

Starting in September 2010, the horses were led to a 30-acre plot of land at about 1:30 p.m. each day, with nothing to do but run and sleep until the next morning.

"We just put them out there and let them be horses," Purcell said. "It's not much more complicated than that."

Claiborne actually still owns Departing, along with Adele Dilschneider, and will face two of its most prestigious clients, Orb co-owners Stuart Janney III and Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps, on Saturday.

Claiborne has a long history with the Phipps, having stood their top stallion Bold Ruler — known mostly as Secretariat's sire — and Janney currently keeps his mares there. He entrusted the operation once run by his parents at their Maryland farm to Claiborne president Seth Hancock in 1989 when he took over upon his father's death. Hancock is one of Janney's closest confidants, but they've dismissed talk of the rivalry.

"I don't even think he thinks about it," Janney said. "This is what happens when you breed great horses and put them with great trainers."

Yet Janney marvels at the thought that Orb's old running mate would show up here, in his hometown, looking to spoil a shot to go onto the Belmont with a chance for the first Triple Crown since 1978. He visited the young colt who would eventually be called Orb, but never noticed Departing (it's a Claiborne tradition to give horses one-word names).

"It's very unusual to think they'd both make it here, over such a cluttered path," he said.

Neither horse had an especially noteworthy pedigree, at least by Claiborne breeding standards.

Orb's sire, Malibu Moon, had produced top fillies but his sons tended to be unfocused.

"He was like a lot of his half-brothers, goofing off instead of paying any attention," said Niall Brennan, who broke Orb at his Florida farm. "That had been the one worry with Malibu Moon. His fillies were professional, his colts not so much."

His dam, Lady Liberty, had failed to produce a great runner and Janney, a Butler resident, was under pressure from Phipps to sell her.

Departing's sire, War Front, had won four of his 13 starts and was top-three in 10 races, but was an untested sire. His dam ran in only one race.

Purcell remembers both colts showing early promise, however fleeting that usually turns out to be.

"New foals can be hard to look at," he said. "It's all legs and nothing is sorted out. But Orb was Lady Liberty's fourth foal and easily her best. He looked like a good horse right way. Departing wasn't much different."

Orb was born Feb. 24. Departing came on April 1.