Orb typically comes from behind, but he has shown an ability to stay close to the early leaders if they're going slow, trying to save energy.
This year's Derby does not seem to me an especially wide-open affair. Orb enters the race off three straight victories, including two wins in top stakes races at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Verrazano is undefeated in his four career starts, including wins over other Derby starters Normandy Invasion, Vyjack, and Java's War. Orb and Verrazano figure to be two of the favorites this year.
Revolutionary has won three straight races, capped by a win in the Louisiana Derby. He will pick up the services of three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel. Verrazano and Revolutionary are two of the five horses top trainer Todd Pletcher will send out today. They will be joined by fast-improving Arkansas Derby (grade I) winner Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten.
Yes, many of this year's top horses also boast top trainers and top jockeys.
Of course the bad news in picking favorites like Orb means any wagers will not return a whole lot of money, for those who choose to wager. That said, a bet on a long shot that doesn't win returns zero. For this race, I'll take the $9 or $10 payout on a $2 wager on Orb and be happy.
1. Orb; 2. Verrazano; 3. Palace Malice.
Former Gazette staff writer Frank Angst is now a staff writer at Blood-Horse magazine.