Freshness was not a factor
While perusing the Preakness PPs last week something jumped out at me. It was the amount of lines per each entrant… they were kind of long! Govenor Charlie was the only Preakness entrant with the lightly raced profile of three races and Departing was next with five. Here, see for yourself.
In a conversation with the Railbird (where I mentioned how notable it was that the Preakness starters had so many starts), she also pointed out that Orb was the first Derby winner since
Big Brown (whoops!) Barbaro in 2006 to have three races as a 3-year-old prior to his Derby start.
This prompted me to look into the number of starts for WPS horses for the Triple Crown races for the past few years:
Orb’s career starts were on the higher end of the past few years, he and Street Sense (2007) both came into the Derby with seven starts. Only Mine That Bird (2008) had more starts going into the Derby with eight. It’s also worth noting that several place and show runners had four starts as 3-year-olds prior to the Derby: Bodemeister (2012), Nehro & Mucho Macho Man (2011) and Eight Belles (2008).
Comparing the Preakness over the years is where this year stands out in terms of career starts. 2010 and 2009 were almost comparable with Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Jackson Bend (2010 show) at 10 starts and Lookin at Lucky (2010) and Mine That Bird (2009 place) coming in with nine starts.
Did the new points system play into this? I have no idea. What will this mean for the Belmont or even for next year? No clue. But a Preakness winner coming in with 10 starts while making his sixth start of the year seemed at least notable!