Stuart Janney III, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winner Orb, showed up at the Pimlico barn of trainer Shug McGaughey Thursday morning.
"It's a huge sense of pride. I've been out here most mornings before the Preakness for most of my life, so it's great to bring this horse here," Mr. Janney said. "I'm proud of him."
Orb has been made the even-money favorite for Saturday's 138th Preakness Stakes versus eight challengers. The colt will leave from the inside post with jockey Joel Rosario.
"It was maybe a feeling of relief that it's actually happening," said Mr. Janney. "I thought we went to Churchill with the best horse. You never know. There are a lot of reasons that the best horse doesn't always win. Rain was one of them. But I did feel a huge sense of relief when he crossed the finish line and a great feeling of elation."
The Kentucky Derby winner galloped a mile with exercise rider Jenn Patterson Thursday morning.
"Today I just wanted to see how he was moving and how he got over the racetrack," McGaughey said. "I'm very pleased with what I saw.
"I think he'll get a good spot in the race with the speed outside of him. I think Joel will get him where he wants him to be and we'll take it from there. That's all you can do. The same thing in the Derby, I thought he had him in a good place. Before he asked him to run, I began to think, 'Are you too far back?' But when he pushed the button, I knew we were going to be a factor. I didn't know if he would win, but I knew he'd be a factor. I think we'll see the same thing Saturday."
The 3-year-old is owned by Mr. Janney along with Phipps Stable.
Mylute, fifth in the Run for the Roses, galloped 1 1/4 miles at Pimlico with exercise rider Maurice Sanchez. The gray colt is the 5-1 second choice in the program and will break from post 5 with Rosie Napravnik.
"He looked around and said, 'All right, I'm home.'" GoldMark Farm's Todd Quast said. "He handled it very, very well. He's very seasoned and very relaxed wherever he goes. He handled it super, had good energy, came off the track good and cooled out good."
Departing, the 6-1 third pick, galloped 1 1/2 miles Thursday morning with exercise rider Trina Pasckvale.
"There were a lot of tents out there in the infield for him to look at and that kept his mind occupied a bit. He has been tough on Trina the past few days," trainer Al Stall Jr. said.
Winner of the Illinois Derby four weeks ago, Departing will break from post 4 with Brian Hernandez Jr.
"In the Illinois Derby, he took Brian where he needed to go," Stall noted. "I think the extra ground (a sixteenth of a mile farther than the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby) will help him. There is plenty of gas in the tank."
Santa Anita Derby champ Goldencents is the 8-1 fourth pick for the Preakness and will again have Kevin Krigger in the saddle from post 2. Trainer Doug O'Neill won the race last year after claiming the Derby with I'll Have Another.
"The '2' has won the Preakness numerous times, so we're hoping to add to that," said O'Neill, "Orb obviously looks like the horse to beat. He's not like a one-race hit. All year long he's been super impressive. Hall of Fame trainer, future Hall of Fame jockey, and he's looked great here at Pimlico. But we've seen Goldencents do some brilliant things in the afternoon. If he does, I think he can beat him.
"People think of this track as being more of a speed-favoring track than Churchill. As long as the horse is doing well and gets a hold of the track, I think he's got a big chance to knock Orb off. I would assume with the tighter turns (Goldencents) would be forwardly placed. I think all of us would like a dry track, just so there's no excuses."
Goldencents, 17th two weeks ago, had a mile gallop with Krigger riding on Thursday.
Itsmyluckyday, 15th in the Derby, will take on Orb for a third straight race. Trained by Ed Plesa Jr., Itsmyluckyday was runner-up to Orb in the Florida Derby.
"He's given me every sign that he's ready for the war; he's ready for the race; he's ready for the battle," said Plesa. "Let's just get it on.
"He struggled with the racetrack (at Churchill), there's no question about that. Did it take anything out of him? No more than a regular race. He'd have been running back in two weeks anyway. If I thought it took anything out of him, A) I wouldn't have worked him and B), I don't have to come here."
Itsmyluckyday, 10-1 in the program, galloped around Pimlico's racetrack Thursday morning. The colt has the outside post with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez set to ride.
Sunland Derby winner Govenor Charlie, trained by Bob Baffert, had his first look at Pimlico's track after arriving from Louisville on Wednesday.
"He handled the track fine. He galloped a mile to let him get over the track," said assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes. "He went over it fine and seemed to like it."
Co-owned by Mike Pegram, Govenor Charlie is 12-1 in the morning-line and will be ridden by Martin Garcia from post 8.
A third of the Preakness field is trained by D. Wayne Lukas. Will Take Charge is 12-1 and will start from post 7 with Mike Smith riding. Oxbow will break from post 6 with jockey Gary Stevens and is 15-1. Titletown Five, co-owned by football legend Paul Hornung, is 30-1 and will start from post 3 with Julien Leparoux.
"I personally don't think Mylute should be the second choice in the race, unless they bet on Rosie (Napravnik)," Lukas said. "I think Will Take Charge and Oxbow are about equal and their odds are going to fall somewhere between 5-1 and 8-1. The other horse is going to be a long shot, probably one of the longest shots on the board."