Orb Dominates the 139th Kentucky Derby

Orb Splashes Home Derby Victor For Shug


On Saturday Orb splashed home to win the Derby by 2 ½ lengths over longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary. He finished the mile and a quarter in 202.89 as the tepid favorite. It was particularly gratifying for Shug McGaughey, a hall of fame trainer but one who had never won this race before.

Shug McGaugheyMcGaughey is not like other trainers who fire a scatter shot into the field by entering multiple entries in the race, hoping to get one to win it. He has always believed that the horse should tell him if he is Derby worthy. With Orb he had no plans of entering him in the Run for the Roses until after he had won the Florida Derby.


“I have always dreamed of this day,” McGaughey said. “If you force a horse into a race, usually it ends up being a big mistake.”

KentuckyDerbyWinnerOrbOrb garnered $1,414,800 of the $2,174,800 total Derby purse. Rain had soaked the Churchill track for seven hours before it quit shortly before the race. Despite the off going, the race was run fairly cleanly. Palace Malice set a torrid early pace of 45.33 half mile and a 109.80 six furlong time, the fourth fastest fractions in Derby History.

Orb got a perfect trip from jockey Joel Rosario, who had him settled back going into the first turn. When they turned for home he was in the middle of the track, six wide and ran down Normandy Invasion and held off longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary who finished second and third respectively.

The fact that Rosario kept Orb on the outside as he drove the lane, shows the confidence he had in his mount. Being six wide down the lane meant that he was traveling a further distance than those who elected to stay toward the inside of the track.

McGaughey said, “I got a little antsy, but he did go on and finish.”

RosarioOrbNow the preparations start of the second leg of the Triple Crown, The Preakness Stakes to be run on May 18. If he wins the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes he would be only the 12th horse in history to do it. It would also break a 35 year drought which is the longest since Sir Barton won the first one in 1919.

So can Orb win the Triple Crown?  Only time will tell. But right now confidence is high.

“He has been coming out of his races good”, McGaughey said. “If everything is right, I can’t wait to get there and do it again”.





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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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