KENTUCKY DERBY (Grade 1)
Churchill Downs, Dirt, 2000m
4 May 2013
Hovering around as the second choice for most of the betting leading up to Saturday’s 139th Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable homebred Orb (Malibu Moon) garnered a flurry of late support to go off the public’s choice. That money proved the smart money as the 5-1 shot roared home in the slop to earn the roses by 2 1/2 lengths and provide Hall of Fame conditioner and Kentucky native Shug McGaughey with a first Derby. Unheralded 34-1 longshot Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) got up for a surprising second, while second choice Revolutionary (War Pass) got up for third under a patented rail-skimming ride from Calvin Borel to fill out the trifecta.
All besides Java’s War (War Pass) were away well, and Orb settled into rhythm well off the pace and in the two or three path. Meanwhile, Palace Malice (Curlin), a surprising pacesetter with first-time blinkers, zipped clear to set hot opening splits of :22.57 and :45.33 with a slew of horses in hot pursuit, including Palace Malice’s stablemate Verrazano (More Than Ready), Vyjack (Into Mischief), Goldencents (Into Mischief) and Oxbow (Awesome Again).
The leader started to come under a ride entering the home bend, and Normandy Invasion (Tapit) was the first to catch the eye with a sharp sweeping move. That runner hit the straight with the lead, but Orb was winding up after tipping into the six or seven path. He angled in slightly as Joel Rosario provided right-handed reminders, and drifted back out a bit as he blew by Normandy Invasion at the eighth pole. Nobody was getting to Orb at that point, and he bounded clear without having to empty the tank.
Golden Soul and Revolutionary also came from a similar place to Orb in the pack, with the latter leading the former up the inside turning for home. Robby Albarado on Golden Soul opted to come off the rail while Revolutionary stayed inside, but that additional ground covered by the runner-up didn’t cost him the placing.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News