LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Many trainers spend time the week before the Derby selling the virtues of their horse to anybody that will listen.
Shug McGaughey is not a salesman.
A lot of people bought into his quiet confidence and eventually made Orb the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Today they are feeling brilliant.
Handicappers kept looking for a horse to play against Orb, but he was clearly the one to beat. Nobody could beat him.
My choice was Revolutionary in a close battle with the Orbster, but Calvin didn't get there in time. I was wrong, it wasn't close.
It was a rainy day but I'm guessing Orb wins the Derby in any conditions, including bright sunshine.
About those salesmen, we were flim-flammed. There was a shell game at the barns.
Some people bought the line that Itsmyluckyday had the best speed numbers in the race. Oops, that was for the first mile.
Goldencents came up short in the San Felipe and then beat an injured Flashback in the Santa Anita Derby. Doug O'Neill thought He Had Another. The bettors made him 8-1. Wrong! At the finish line it was 17th place.
One amateur tout approached me and said it's Verrazano's race to lose and it was. He's a beautiful horse and will make a great miler. He was not more than ready to win the Derby.
Among the success stories on Derby Day, Normandy Invasion and Mylute were fourth and fifth and both will be winners if they stay sound.
Revolutionary could be a serious threat to Orb if they both make it to the Belmont.
Then there's Golden Soul, the second place horse, who could be found only by hitting the ALL button.
If you saw this one coming, you get the swami award.
If Golden Soul hits the board in the Belmont then he's more than a shiny nugget on Derby day.
And do you know the Preakness is just 12 days away?
So Orb has less than two weeks to recover and there's a group of fresh horses like Illinois Derby winner Departing, who are ready to take their shot at a Triple Crown race.
That's why it's so hard to win the Triple Crown. Very few horses compete in all three.
It will take a super horse to beat the newcomers and then the group that is skipping the Preakness and waiting in New York for the Belmont.
But if anybody can nurse a potential champion through the next five weeks, it's Shug.
He won't be selling anything. He'll just take a quiet run at the Triple Crown.