One of the half-brothers of Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who finished a close up third in Saturday's Travers Stakes at Saratoga, has moved to Maryland in preparation for entering stallion duty at Country Life Farm in Bel Air.
Back in mid-May, when I was spending a few days in Baltimore helping out with The Sun's coverage of the run-up to the Preakness, I completely overlooked another horse-related story with a strong Harford County connection.
In the days leading up to Saturday's 138th running of the Preakness Stakes, favorite Orb's trainer, Shug McGaughey, said on a few occasions he felt his colt had yet to run his best race. After the gate opened at Pimlico and sent off the nine Preakness starters, the Kentucky Derby champion appeared to be well positioned in the middle of the pack on the back stretch. But Orb, the 3-5 favorite, and seven of the others in the field had to watch the rear end of Oxbow for the entire one and
Mike Pons has had a busy week. For starters, Pons, who owns Country Life Farm in Bel Air with his older brother Josh, was responsible for finding tickets for 80 assorted family members, friends and clients to attend Saturday's 138th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore.
In a pair of low-slung green stables manned by security guards and watched by 24-hour surveillance cameras, a pack of brawny young horses will be pampered and poked, assessed down to their smallest sinewy muscle and the blood in their veins.
Secretariat's 1973 run at the Preakness has received relatively little attention compared to his victories in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. But as the racing world celebrates the 40th anniversary of Secretariat's Triple Crown, it's clear the Preakness played an important part in cementing his legacy.
D. Wayne Lukas, the Hall of Fame trainer, has started 37 horses in the Preakness. He expects to have three more — Will Take Charge, Oxbow and Titletown Five — go to the post Saturday for the 138th running of the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
Why haven't thoroughbreds gotten faster over time? Unlike humans, who regularly set new world records in track and swimming, today's best racehorses often post slower winning times than their predecessors from 30 and 40 years ago.
The world of sport is one of upsets, results that defy logic: N.C. State beating Houston for the NCAA basketball title in 1983 or Villanova over Georgetown the following year, Larry Owings over Dan Gable in college wrestling in 1970, the 1980 Miracle on Ice, Spinks over Ali in boxing, Dodgers sweep A's in the 1988 World Series, even Giants over Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. But perhaps nowhere is the upset move prevalent than in horse racing
Even without I'll Have Another going for the last leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes did OK in the ratings for NBC, drawing an overnight audience 13 percent larger than last year's and 74 percent above 2010.
The absence of Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another opens up the 2012 Belmont Stakes from a wagering perspective. Dullahan and Union Rags are likely to be co-favorites, with Dullahan possibly taking slightly more wagering.
By By Liam Durbin and Special to The Baltimore Sun
Billy Turner will be in the stands at Belmont Park on Saturday, a shock of silver hair — and a slew of memories — tucked beneath his familiar Irish-peaked cap. At 72, he is the only living trainer of a Triple Crown champion.