Kentucky Derby Winner Orb in Good Shape for Preakness

Image: Kentucky Derby Winner Orb in Good Shape for Preakness Trainer Shug McGaughey, left, walks with Orb ridden by jockey Joel Rosario after winning the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, May 4, 2013.

Monday, 06 May 2013 12:21 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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After paying first-place money at the 139th Kentucky Derby Saturday, winner Orb will prepare for the next leg of the journey to the coveted Triple Crown — the Preakness Stakes.

Orb, a 3-year-old bay colt born at the prestigious Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., came from behind to win Saturday's race, giving Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first Kentucky Derby win. The horse was ridden by Joel Rosario.

Orb now has the chance to win the coveted Triple Crown. The second leg, the Preakness Stakes, will be held in Maryland later this month followed by the Belmont Stakes, in New York in June.

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The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.

"I still think there's something more there, I don't think we've bottomed out," McGaughey, 62, told Reuters. "I think we've got our hands on a pretty special horse."


At the Preakness, Orb is expected to face five of his beaten rivals, and also the Illinois Derby winner, Departing, a 3-year-old colt raised alongside Orb at Claiborne. Departing's only defeat in five starts was a third-place finish at the Louisiana Derby.

Orb, winner of five straight races now including the Florida Derby, has what it takes to sweep the Triple Crown, said longtime horse trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who led some of the horses that Orb bested in Kentucky.

"I think the Preakness will be the biggest hurdle for [Orb] for the Triple Crown," Lukas told the Courier-Journal. "If he gets by that, he gets to go back home to Belmont and run right out of his stall. He's got the pedigree and he's got a style that really equates to winning these things. The way he finishes is going to make him awful tough."

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McGaughey is eager to explore Orb's potential.

"I don't really know what I got," McGaughey told the Courier-Journal. "I mean, I know what I've got now: I've got the Derby winner. I'm looking forward to running him in two weeks from now, everything being good."

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