By Dick Downey
For the first time since his fourth-place finish as the 3-5 favorite in the Preakness Stakes, Kentucky Derby winner Orb galloped on Thursday.
Back at his base at Belmont Park, Orb was sent out to the main track. He galloped a mile just after 6:00 a.m under regular exercise rider Jenn Patterson. Trainer Shug McGaughey said he was happy with what he saw.
“I was pleased,” said McGaughey. “We’re taking it as it comes and not looking too far ahead. But if everything goes well, we’d like to run in the Belmont.”
The field for the race on June 8 may be in double digits and will include Preakness winner Oxbow and also-ran Will Take Charge, who was seventh in the Preakness after finishing eighth in the Derby.
Other likely starters, according to Andrew Byrnes, stakes coordinator for The New York Racing Association, Inc., are:
--Peter Pan winner Freedom Child;
--Giant Finish, tenth in the Derby;
--Derby runner-up Golden Soul;
--A sizeable Todd Pletcher contingent including Revolutionary, Overanalyze, and Palace Malice, third, 11th and 12th, respectively, in the Derby. The filly Unlimited Budget, third in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, Micromanage and Midnight Taboo are also under consideration.
--Preakness day allowance winner Code West for Bob Baffert. Rosie Napravnik will have the mount -- that is, unless he defects. According to a tweet by Christina Blacker, Bob Baffert told her on Thursday he is going to take a wait-and-see position with Code West.
Mylute, fifth in the Derby and third in the Preakness was ruled out yesterday by trainer Tom Amoss.
Itsmyluckyday, fifteenth in the Derby and second in the Preakness, was said to be 50-50 for the Belmont by trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. on Sunday.