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What to watch for at the Preakness

Saturday - 5/18/2013, 7:52pm  ET

Exercise rider Peter Shelton rides Preakness Stakes entrant Itsmyluckyday as they gallop at Pimlico Race Course Friday, May 17, 2013 in Baltimore. The Preakness Stakes horse race is scheduled for Saturday. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

RICHARD ROSENBLATT
AP Sports Writer

BALTIMORE (AP) -- All eyes will be on Kentucky Derby winner Orb in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. The 3-year-old colt will take on eight challengers in the second leg of the Triple Crown. If he wins, Orb will attempt to become the first Triple Crown champion since Affirmed in 1978 at the Belmont Stakes on June 8. In the Preakness, Orb will be facing five horses he defeated in the Derby and three who did not run in the race.

Here's a guide to watching the race:

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-- INSIDE START. Orb will start from the inside, No. 1 gate. If this was the Kentucky Derby that could be a major problem because there would be more of a chance of getting squeezed back in the pack. The Derby field was 19; the Preakness is nine, with a longer run to the first turn than at Churchill Downs. However, since 1961 only one horse -- Tabasco Cat in 1994 -- has won from the No. 1 post.

-- FIRST TURN. By the first turn, we'll know whether Orb, under jockey Joel Rosario, has established clear-running position. The question is how far back he'll settle. In the Derby, with its much larger field, Orb dropped 18 lengths off the pace. Look for him to be much closer as Govenor Charlie, Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday and Titletown Five vie for the early lead.

-- BACKSTRETCH: Around the turn and into the backstretch, Orb should find a comfortable groove as the field sorts into clusters: speed horses, midpack runners and closers. If the early pace is fast, Orb could be farther back; if it's slow, he could be in the middle.

-- FINAL TURN: Heading into the final turn is when Orb should be making his move. In the Derby, Rosario waited patiently to make the call and when he did, Orb went from 16th to the lead in the final half-mile and won by 2
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