Kentucky Derby: Orb shines bright

Colt wins from behind in mudfest; Pletcher's Revolutionary is 3rd
2013-05-05T00:00:00Z Kentucky Derby: Orb shines brightThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Way back in the pack heading into the final turn, Orb was calm even if his jockey wasn't.

Then trainer Shug McGaughey's bay colt picked up speed, churning through a sloppy track that resembled creamy peanut butter, and blew past rivals one-by-one. By that time, jockey Joel Rosario knew he was aboard the Kentucky Derby winner.

Orb powered to a 2 1/2-length victory Saturday at Churchill Downs, giving McGaughey and Rosario their first Derby wins.

"I was so far behind," Rosario said. "He was very relaxed; it's exactly what I wanted."

Rosario had Orb in the clear on the outside, and they forged to the lead deep in the stretch, with enough momentum to hold off 34-1 shot Golden Soul and third-place Revolutionary, one of five horses in the Derby trained by Arizona grad Todd Pletcher.

It was a popular victory before a crowd of 151,616, which poured late money on Orb to make him the 5-1 favorite, a spot Revolutionary had owned most of the day.

McGaughey, a 62-year-old native of Lexington, finally got the Derby win he had long sought. Orb was just his second starter since 1989, when he settled for second after Sunday Silence beat Easy Goer on a muddy track.

"It means everything to me," the Hall of Famer McGaughey said. "I've always dreamed of this day, and it finally came."

The rain pelting the track earlier in the day had stopped by the time 19 horses paraded to the post for the 139th Derby. But it created a gloppy surface, although it didn't seem to bother Orb, who had never previously run on a wet track.

His triumph was a victory for the old school of racing, where a private trainer like McGaughey works exclusively for wealthy owners, in this case Stuart Janney and Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps.

The first cousins, among the sport's blue bloods that include the old-money Whitney and Vanderbilt families, also got their first gold Derby trophy. Orb paid $12.80, $7.40 and $5.40. Golden Soul returned $38.60 and $19.40, and Revolutionary paid $5.40 to show.

When the horses burst from the gates, Palace Malice and Mike Smith set a fast pace.

On the far turn, the pack closed in on the leader, with Oxbow attacking from the inside and Normandy Invasion moving up on the outside to take the lead.

Rosario positioned Orb in the clear on the outside, and they reeled in Normandy Invasion in mid-stretch before surging clear.

History was denied on several fronts Saturday:

• Pletcher's Derby record fell to 1 for 36 after sending out a record-tying five horses for the second time in his career. Besides Revolutionary, Charming Kitten was ninth; Overanalyze was 11th; early pacesetter Palace Malice was 12th; and previously unbeaten Verrazano was 14th.

• Rosie Napravnik's bid to become the first woman jockey to win ended with a fifth-place finish aboard Mylute. It was still the highest finish by a woman rider, bettering her ninth place in 2011.

• Kevin Krigger failed in his attempt to be the first black jockey to win since 1902. He rode Goldencents to a 17th-place finish for trainer Doug O'Neill, who won last year with I'll Have Another. Rick Pitino owns 5 percent of the colt, who couldn't deliver a horses/hoops double for the coach of the national champion Louisville basketball team.

• D. Wayne Lukas, 77, missed becoming the oldest trainer to win. He saddled two horses: Oxbow was sixth with Gary Stevens, 50, making a Derby comeback after seven years in retirement, and Will Take Charge was eighth.

Despite McGaughey being from Lexington, the heart of Kentucky's horse country, Orb was just his second starter since 1989, when McGaughey watched Easy Goer lose to Sunday Silence. Orb also was the second Derby starter for Janney and Phipps, whose previous entries were in 1988 and '89.

"This horse's bloodline goes back to our grandmother," Janney, whose parents owned star filly Ruffian, said about Orb.

How they finished

• Win: Orb (jockey Joel Rosario)

• Place: Golden Soul (Robby Albarado)

• Show: Revolutionary (Calvin Borel)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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