Orb Spins Derby Win

By May 9, 2013
Jockey Joel Rosario raises his crop in victory as a mud-splattered Orb crosses the finish line at the Kentucky Derby.

Joel Rosario jockeys Orb to victory in Louisville. (Photo courtesy KentuckyDerby.com)

Nineteen 3-year-olds entered the starting gate for the 139th Kentucky Derby, and it was the favorite, Orb, at 5-to1, who won the day on May 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

The outcome wasn’t obvious for the first half of the race, as jockey Joel Rosario held back during the early part of the race, content to coast along on the outer perimeter of the muddy track while the frontrunners set a blistering pace.

The strategy proved brilliant as he urged Orb into overdrive on the backstretch, surging past the leaders to win by a comfortable 2½ lengths over Golden Soul. Orb’s time of 2:02.89 for the 1¼ mile race was more just over three seconds slower than Secretariat’s record, set in 1973.

The stakes totaled $2 million. Orb paid $12.80 on each $2 bet to win, while Golden Soul earned $38.60 to place. Revolutionary, who was favored to win until the day of the race, paid $5.40 for his third place finish.

Rosario, 38, hails from the Dominican Republic. In 2006 he moved to Southern California, where he climbed the ranks at Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita. By 2013 he was at the top of his profession, coronated with a win aboard Team Valor’s Animal Kingdom in the $10 Million Dubai World Cup.

Orb’s victory marked Rosario’s first Kentucky Derby win. Likewise, it was the first trip to the coveted circle for co-owners Stuart Janney III and Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps and trainer Claude “Shug” McGaughey. Although McGaughney is a Hall of Fame Trainer, the closest he came to the Derby winner’s circle was in 1989 when Easy Goer finished second. The horse went on to win the Belmont Stakes, McGaughey’s last Triple Crown placing.

The owner-training team has a way with the ladies. The Janney and Phipps families bred and owned Ruffian, arguably the top-performing filly of the past three decades and winner of the 1974 distaff Triple Crown (now known as the Triple Tiara). McGaughey trained the unbeaten mare Personal Ensign.

It wasn’t a given that they’d have their moment in the spotlight with Orb, who began his professional career as a 2-year-old year by losing his first three races. McGaughey said the Derby wasn’t in his plans when the colt arrived in Florida to prep for his three-year-old stint.

Wins in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park fast-tracked the colt to Louisville, where Orb’s win earned his team a cool $1.41 million of the total $2.18 million purse. Some racing journalists touted the victory as one for the sport’s “old school” of generational breeders over nouveau Thoroughbred entrepreneurs such as those behind Mine That Bird and Big Brown (Derby winners in 2009 and 2008, respectively). Orb’s owners and trainer have deep ties to the racing establishment.

The son of Malibu Moon out of Lady Liberty heads to the Preakness Stakes on May 18 as the odds-on favorite and a viable Triple Crown contender. Only eleven horses have won racing’s trio of crown jewels since the tradition was inaugurated in 1919, most recently Affirmed in 1978.

Churchill Downs released a spectator count of 151,616 for the rainy Saturday of the first leg of racing’s Triple Crown series. Many watched with baited breath to see if Rosie Napravnik, 25, would become the first female jockey to win the Run for the Roses, on Mylute, who finished fifth. Likewise, history would have had a wake-up call if 29-year-old Kevin Krigger, on Goldencents, became the first African American jockey to win since James Winkfield’s back-to-back victories in 1901 and 1902. It was not to be.

Speculation now turns to the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes, which takes place at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD, and then the 145th edition of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY on June 8. The longest of the Triple Crown races, the Belmont is 1.5 miles. NBC will telecast both events.

139th Kentucky Derby Results

Place Horse Jockey Owner Stakes
1 Orb Joel Rosario Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable $1,414,800
2 Golden Soul Robby Albarado Charles F. Fipke $400,000
3 Revolutionary Calvin Borel WinStar Farm LLC $200,000
4 Normandy Invasion Javier Castellano Fox Hills Farm (Rick Porter) $100,000
5 Mylute Rosie Napravnik GoldMark Farm LLC & Whisper Hills Farm $60,000
6 Oxbow Gary Stevens Calumet Farm $0
7 Lines of Battle Ryan Moore Joseph Allen, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith $0
8 Will Take Charge Jon Court Willis D. Horton $0
9 Charming Kitten Edgar Prado Ken & Sarah Ramsey $0
10 Giant Finish Jose L. Espinoza Sunrise Stables (Andy Cohen), Gary Tolchin, Aubrey Flanagan & Bob Smith $0
11 Overanalyze Rafael Bejarano Repole Stables $0
12 Palace Malice Mike Smith Dogwood Stable (Cot Campbell) $0
13 Java’s War Julien Leparoux Charles F. Fipke $0
14 Verrazano John R. Velazquez Let’s Go Stable (Kevin Scatuorchio & Bryan Sullivan), Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith $0
15 Itsmyluckyday Elvis Trujillo Trilogy Stable & Laura Plesa $0
16 Frac Daddy Victor Lebron Magic City Thoroughbred Partners $0
17 Goldencents Kevin Krigger W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney & RAP Racing $0
18 Vyjack Garrett Gomez Pick Six Racing (David Wilkenfeld) $0
19 Falling Sky Luis Saez Newtown Anner Stud, James Covello & Joseph Bugler $0


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