Will Orb and Departing remember Claiborne Farm in Preakness?

Kentucky Derby Tours visited Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky on the Thursday before Derby this year and one of the facts we heard about was that Orb had been foaled there. It turns out that Departing was also born there.

The two horses were in the same paddock at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky as youngsters. It is a common practice to keep mares and foals together. So it can be said with certainty, they ran together as youngsters. Now they will reconnect and see who can run faster on Saturday, May 18 in the 2013 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Orb, who won the Derby at Churchill Downs by 2 1/2-lengths last Saturday for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, seems to be a solid favorite in the Preakness in his pursuit of the Triple Crown. Orb’s owners and breeders are Ogden Mills Phipps and his cousin Stuart Janney III, whose lifelong ties to the Baltimore community will be widely noted in the coming days.

Departing, bred and owned by Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider, looks like the most dangerous newcomer to the 2013 Triple Crown series as a 3 1/4-length winner of the Illinois Derby in his last start. Departing, a gelded son of War Front, is trained by Al Stall Jr.

The business relationship of over 50 years between the extended Phipps family and the Hancocks of Claiborne. It goes back before Seth Hancock took over the reins at Claiborne. The Phippses board their blue-blooded mares at Claiborne, and their top stallions have gone to stud at Claiborne. Because of their horse racing history together, Claiborne seems a likely home for Orb when he goes to stud. In fact, it was mentioned on our tour.

One of the most famous tales in American racing involves A.B. “Bull” Hancock flipping a coin that gave Ogden Phipps the choice of a horse he wanted – while Penny Chenery had to settle for Secretariat. Definitely a case of the toss loser winning!

Al Stall Jr., a major racing aficionado aside from his outstanding work as a trainer, said “It’s amazing stuff when you think about it, we’ll be going up there trying to knock Orb and the Phippses out of the Triple Crown. I have no clue if we can do it, but we’re happy with the way our horse is doing.”

Orb bucked the traditional travel date for horses being flown from Churchill to Baltimore – Orb left Churchill Downs early Sunday morning after his win. Goldencents also has arrived in Pimlico. Tradition in years gone by had most contenders still at Churchill Downs – leaving on the Wednesday morning before the Preakness. For those of us staying on in Louisville after Derby, we missed the after Derby TV news coverage of the Kentucky Derby winner and other horses.

This is the 2013 Preakness Stakes entries so far:
Horse Trainer Jockey Last race/finish
Departing, Al Stall Jr., Brian Hernandez Jr., Illinois Derby, 1st
Goldencents, Doug O’Neill, Kevin Krigger, Kentucky Derby, 17th
Govenor Charlie, Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia, Sunland Derby, 1st
Itsmyluckyday, Eddie Plesa Jr, John Velazquez, Kentucky Derby, 15th
Mylute, Tom Amoss, Rosie Napravnik, Kentucky Derby, 5th
Normandy Invasion, Chad Brown, Javier Castellano, Kentucky Derby, 4th
Orb, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario, Kentucky Derby, 1st
Oxbow, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens, Kentucky Derby, 6th
Street Spice, Greg Geier, Jeffrey Sanchez, Illinois Derby, 5th
Titletown Five, D. Wayne Lukas, Julien Leparoux, Derby Trial, 4th
Vyjack, Rudy Rodriguez, Garrett Gomez, Kentucky Derby, 18th
Will Take Charge, D. Wayne Lukas, Mike Smith, Kentucky Derby, 8th