Orb Takes Home Kentucky Derby

Orb Takes Home Kentucky Derby

Orb winning the Kentucky Derby.

Orb, far back in the pack for much of the race, made a late charge to win the 139th running of the mud-spattered Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Orb is by Malibu Moon out of Unbridled mare Liberty Lady. Malibu Moon draws parallels to our very own A.P. Arrow at Summerhill Stud – a sire by A.P. Indy out of a Mr Prospector mare – a cross that also produced successful (and now deceased) sire Pulpit.

Golden Soul was second, followed by Revolutionary – the latter being out of mare Runup The Colors (by A.P. Indy), herself a half-sister to sire Allied Flag who stood at Clifton Stud and produced Vodacom Durban July winner Classic Flag.

Orb, the post-time favourite at 5-1, had a winning time of 2:02.89 over the 1¼-mile track. The stakes totaled $2 million.

“When it was time to go, I knew he was going to respond well,” jockey Joel Rosario said of Orb, calling his race a “perfect trip.” Shug McGaughey III, a Kentucky native and widely respected trainer who had yet to win the Derby, was overcome with emotion by Orb’s comeback, breaking down as he tried to explain his joy.

“I always dreamed of this day and it finally came,” said McGaughey.

Orb’s co-owner Stuart Janney gave McGaughey the credit, noting that many had been saying his time to win the Derby had come. “We certainly hoped it had,” Janney said. “And it did.” Palace Malice, ridden by veteran rider Mike Smith, broke out to a several-lengths lead about halfway through the race.

The lead group tightened leaving the backstretch, with Normandy Invasion briefly taking the lead before Orb made his dramatic move. More than 150,000 spectators packed Churchill Downs in Louisville, where rain had fallen much of the day and left the track sloppy.

The Derby, which features the nation’s finest 3-year-olds, is the first jewel of the Triple Crown. The 138th running of the Preakness, on May 18 in Maryland, is the second, followed by the Belmont Stakes, in New York on June 8.

Crusade. Image: Sporting Post

Only 11 horses have won the crown, none since Affirmed did in 1978.

Two riders were trying to make history Saturday, but came up short.

Goldencents was ridden by Kevin Krigger, who vied to become the first black jockey to win the premier race since Jimmy Winkfield took the trophy back-to-back in 1901 and 1902. Goldencents finished 17th. Rosie Napravnik, 25, riding Mylute, made a bid to be the first female jockey to win the race. Mylute finished fifth. It was the first Kentucky Derby win for Rosario.

Orb finished more than three seconds slower than Secretariat, which set the race record in 1973.

In other International racing news, Guineas favourite Cristoforo Colombo finished just out of the placings in yesterday’s Gr 1 2000 Guineas, taken home by Dawn Approach.

Finishing gamely in fifth position the half-brother to KZN’s new sire Gr 1 Middle Park Stakes winner Crusade, galloped on to finish strongly – the first of three horses to come home for trainer Aiden O’ Brien. Going off at 8-1, Joseph O’Brien had opted to ride Cristoforo Colombo of the their three horses entered.

Crusade will be presented at a Stallion Day taking place at the Scott Bros’ Highdown Stud in Nottingham Road on 24 May, at 11:30. Group 1 winning Crusade also placed in the Gr 3 Tattersalls Stakes and narrowly unplaced in the Gr 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile after being badly interfered with.

Cristoforo Colombo has had six starts, a win and placed three times in the Gr 2 Coventry Stakes (third), Gr 2 Railway Stakes (second) and fourth in the Gr 1 Middle Park Stakes – the race which his half-brother Crusade won.

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