By Beth Harris AP Racing Writer nwi.com
May 4, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. Orb was so far behind a wall of horses at the Kentucky Derby that even his jockey wasn’t sure he could master the muddy track and make a run for the roses.
“I was really far back,” Joel Rosario said. “I said hopefully he can go faster than that. I was saying maybe I was too far back, but it was so easy.”
The bay colt made it look that way Saturday, splashing through the slop to win the Derby by 2 1-2 lengths and giving Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first victory in the 3-year-old classic.
Long shot Golden Soul was second with Revolutionary third while Normandy Invasion faded to fourth.
Orb, the 5-1 favorite, broke from the No. 16 post and bided his time near the back of the pack early while Palace Malice set a blistering pace in the muck.
Orb was still idling in 16th place a half-mile into the race. On the turn for home, Rosario moved him past 11 horses into striking position in the middle of the track. With a quarter of a mile to go, Orb began picking off the leaders. The only question left was whether he could sustain his momentum on a surface that resembled creamy peanut butter.
“He was very relaxed, it’s exactly what I wanted,” Rosario said.
When the field turned for home on the cool, overcast afternoon at Churchill Downs, Normandy Invasion had the lead. But Orb was gearing up and prevailed in the deep stretch, carrying Rosario to his first Derby win.
“Perfect trip. I stayed on the outside I don’t want to be too wide on the first turn. I was hoping somebody in the middle (of the race) didn’t push me wide,” he said.
Orb ran the 1¼ miles in 2:02.89
Orb paid $12.80, $7.40 and $5.40. Golden Soul, a 34-1 shot, returned $38.60 and $19.40 while Revolutionary paid $5.40 to show.
The 62-year-old McGaughey said the victory meant everything to him.
“I’m thrilled to death for (the owners), thrilled to death for the people who put so much time into this horse, and, of course, I’m thrilled to death for me,” he said.
Todd Pletcher had a record-tying five runners. Revolutionary was the best of the “Todd Squad,” followed by Charming Kitten (ninth), Overanalyze (11th), Palace Malice (12th) and Verrazano (14th).
Goldencents, owned in part by Rick Pitino, coach of Louisville’s national basketball champions, finished a 17th. His jockey, Kevin Krigger, was trying to become the first black rider to win the race since 1902.
Rosie Napravnik was also bidding to make history as the first woman jockey to win the world’s biggest horse race. She finished fifth aboard Mylute, the highest finish by a female rider.
Mylute’s run: Jockey Rosie Napravnik was trying to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, but ended up fifth aboard Mylute.
However, Napravnik wasn’t disappointed. Instead, she saw a solid race by her horse.
“He really did everything very well. We were right with Orb the entire way,” Napravnik said. “We followed him around into the final turn. I was really hoping to be third.”
Napravnik said Mylute, owned by 1965 Valparaiso University grad T. Paul Bulmahn, has a solid future.
“He’s just a very talented horse. He’s going to improve off of this,” Napravnik said.
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