The horse known as Orb, or as Kentucky Derby announcer would call him, “Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrb,” is a 1-1 favorite heading into the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness.
The Joel Rosario jockeyed horse was also the favorite at Churchill Downs, starting the race as a 7-2, Post 16 horse.
Orb is thought to have a great shot at taking home the first Triple Crown since Affirmed, 35 years ago. But what many do not know is if he wins today, the thoroughbred will be attempting to complete the effort at his home course, Belmont.
Orb, the sire of Malibu Moon, who also has the lineage containing Unbridled, Seattle Slew, and Secretariat, is riding a 5-race winning streak heading into Pimlico.
He is trained by Shug McGaughey III, 2004 Hall of Fame inductee of the Racing Hall of Fame, who makes his home at Belmont.
Orb’s early racing days started off inauspicious, taking 4 races before seeing the Winner’s Circle. His experience came from New York-area tracks, running at Saratoga, Aqueduct, and Belmont Park itself. He broke his maiden at Aqueduct in November.
Since then he took home a race at Gulfstream Park, the Fountain of Youth Stakes, and the Florida Stakes.
When he got to the Kentucky Derby, he was in prime position to win.
Starting at the 16 gate, he was positioned near the rear of the field and made his jump half-way through the course. By the final 1/16th of the course, he passed the rest and won in 2:02:89.
It was the first Derby win for McGaughey, who previously won the Belmont in 1989 with Easy Goer, who ended Sunday Silence’s attempt at the Triple.
McGaughey will be hoping to go home and have more success there following Saturday’s race. Orb will look to be the first horse since 2008’s Big Brown to make an attempt at horse racing’s long-sought record, trying to become the 13th Triple Crown winner in history. He will have a chance to do it at home, but first, a road match-up for all the marbles must be won at the Preakness.
He will be in the 1st Gate and that is an arduous task for any horse, with history not on his side. Only Tabasco Cat in 1994 has won from the inside since 1961. He will have to get out from within the rush and follow his usual plan, hoping that another horse will set a pace for Orb to break.
Will he do it? We will find out later today.