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Derby contestants mulling Preakness options

Orb will seek to give the Phipps family their first Preakness win since 1957 (Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who flew from Louisville to New York on Sunday, has settled in nicely at trainer Shug McGaughey's Belmont Park barn.

"He shipped real well. This morning he walked around here great and ate his lunch right up," McGaughey said. "He seems to be as bright as can be."

The media demands for his time commenced Sunday with interviews on CNN, NBC Sports and radio, but McGaughey regards the attention as a small price to pay for adding the Kentucky Derby to his Hall of Fame resume.

"I'm prepared. I've read about it and watched other people go through it," McGaughey said. "I was ready for it to happen to me."

Orb, who has won five straight races, is expected to train for the Preakness at Belmont before shipping to Pimlico early next week.

A couple of Derby participants, Normandy Invasion (4th) and Vyjack (18th) were added Monday to the list of candidates for the Preakness.

Trainer Chad Brown said Monday that Normandy Invasion, who finished fourth in the Derby after leading in the stretch, is a possibility for the Preakness.

"Originally, I threw the Preakness out, but he's come out of the race so well that I'm at least going to remain neutral on the topic until I can see the horse go back to the track and get a gauge on his energy level and his soundness," Brown said.

Brown said the colt was scheduled to fly from Kentucky to New York on Monday and that a decision on the Preakness would likely be made by this weekend.

Vyjack, who had a wild trip in the Derby and finished 18th, might join the Preakness field, trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Monday morning. Rodriguez said he will take a close look at the Into Mischief gelding when he returns to his barn at Aqueduct on Tuesday. The Derby was a disappointment because Vyjack lost his composure and dragged jockey Garrett Gomez close to a torrid early pace.

"Garrett told me that the horse ran off for the first five or six furlongs and that he just eased him up. He said he had no control of the horse in the beginning," Rodriguez said. "He said the horse broke well, but he shied away from the crowd and when he took hold of him the horse just took off. He was never able to relax."

Rodriguez said Vyjack came out of the race in very good physical shape.

Other Derby starters confirmed for the Preakness are Goldencents (17th) and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained duo of Oxbow (6th) and Will Take Charge (8th).

Goldencents departs Churchill Downs for Pimlico after a sub-par Kentucky Derby performance (Mike Kane/Maryland Jockey Club)

Goldencents, who captured the Santa Anita Derby prior to his Derby disappointment, is scheduled to fly from Louisville to New York Monday afternoon before vanning to Pimlico Monday night. Goldencents is trained by Doug O'Neill, who saddled I'll Have Another for victories in last year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Oxbow and Will Take Charge are scheduled to walk the shedrow at Churchill Downs tomorrow and Wednesday before likely returning to the track on Thursday.

Itsmyluckyday, who finished 15th in the Derby, is scheduled to van from Churchill Downs to Monmouth Park Tuesday afternoon. If all goes well in his training at the New Jersey track, the Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt is likely to return in the Preakness.

Assistant trainer Frankie Perez, who used to work for trainer Frank Brothers, learned long ago that a disappointing finish in the Derby shouldn't eliminate a horse from Preakness consideration. Brothers saddled Hansel for a victory in the 1991 Preakness and Belmont Stakes following a 10th-place finish in the Derby.

"He didn't run any good in the Derby and he ran back (in the Preakness) and won," said Perez, who has worked for Plesa for 20 years.

Mylute, who finished fifth in the Derby, remained a possibility for the Preakness, trainer Tom Amoss said.

"No decision has been made about the Preakness," Amoss said. "He is doing well, has good energy and probably will go back to the track Wednesday and have a very light day."

Bob Baffert-trained Govenor Charlie, the Sunland Park Derby winner, and Bellarmine, one of three winners on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard for trainer Ken McPeek, are also under consideration for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.

Fear the Kitten is no longer considered a Preakness contender.

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