I received the following analysis from former jockey Charlie Fenwick, whose wife Muffy is a contributor to the Baltimore Fishbowl. Charlie is an inveterate racing fan, and in the weeks leading up to the Preakness he emails a long list of friends with the inside scoop on the horses’ chances, the races and assorted stories. Below, his latest on what’s what for the Preakness. – SD
CALIFORNIA CHROME has no apparent weaknesses. He has tactical speed, rates behind, he is emotionally mature and likes the distance. For as many times as he’s run, he appears to be sound and fresh. Actually, he works the crowd a bit (see the photo above for him hamming it up in the Pimlico Stakes Barn). I don’t think Espinoza asked him for too much in the Derby, although he beat a weak field.
We asked Stuart’s wife Lynn to share with us the experience of winning the first jewel of the Triple Crown and how the family is feeling about the Kentucky Derby Champion’s chances in the Preakness next weekend.
The Janneys live in Butler, where they raised their two children, Matt and Emily.
All of Maryland is rooting for you, Orb!
Orb had been named the favorite by several organizations, but how confident did you feel that he would win?
I think we were all very confident about Orb before the race, though in horse racing nothing is guaranteed. Shug McGaughey, the trainer, never overstates anything and so when he felt good about Orb, we did too. The rain put a question mark next to him, but his breeding says he should not mind a sloppy track. And he didn’t.
Give us the play-by-play of watching the race, the mood when Orb started storming ahead and the moment when you realized Orb would be victorious. What was your reaction: more stunned, silent disbelief or more hooting and hollering? What was Stuart’s?
The rain made all the exposed seating unusable, so we were all huddled under cover in the stands, very tense. Waiting for the race to start is torturous. Every minute seems like an hour, but eventually they are in the gate. I have relived this race so many times I think I only see it in slow motion. At the start we were all extremely quiet, and then after the first turn Stuart commented the pace is very fast. We were still quiet and not concerned when we saw him fifteenth on the backstretch, just gripping the rail. And then he started to make his move. Still no noise from us. It was only on the last turn when he kicked in that we were free to start yelling. The sound of the crowd at the Derby, Preakness and Belmont — any very big race — can be deafening. But when you have a horse in the race you don’t hear it. We were only hearing each other screaming his name.