HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (WHAS11) – The powerful three-year-old colt Orb has been amazing, according to veteran trainer Shug McGaughey and told the rest of the world say why when Orb won the Florida Derby.
McGaughey is a hall of fame trainer but his conservative approach to training means he seldom brings a three-year-old to the Derby. This year is slated to be different.
Orb ran down Itsmyluckyday in the stretch and powered away to a three-length win in a race that has produced 21 Kentucky Derby winners. Orb will certainly get a chance at the Roses.
In fact, the son of Malibu Moon is now the runaway leader in Derby points with 150. He won both Gulfstream’s major Derby preps, the Fountain of Youth and now the Florida Derby.
Itsmyluckyday was the betting favorite at Gulfstream and his speed figures indicated that he was this year's fastest three year old.
But Orb, who went off at 5-2, passed the favorite in the stretch and then galloped out strongly.
He ran the mile and an eighth in 1:50.87.
In the biggest surprise of the race, two-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby challenged for the lead but faded in the stretch and did not hit the board. He's in danger of not making the Derby Field.
Itsmyluckyday racked up 40 more points and he should make the field with 50. Long shot Merit Man moves into the picture with 20 points for third place.
Orb's win at Gulfstream sets up an interesting problem for jockey John Velazquez, who also rides Verrazano, the favorite for the Wood Memorial in New York on April 6.
Orb and Verrazano could meet in the Kentucky Derby and Velazquez would have to make a choice between Todd Pletcher horses.
There was a 100 point Derby prep in Dubai. The UAE Derby was won by Line of Battle trained by the veteran Aidan O'Brien.
O'Brien says the plan was to run in Dubai and make the Derby. Line of Battle owned by Allen, Magnier, Tabor and Derrick Smith looks like a sure starter.
Ironically, under the new Derby points system, the horse with the most earnings is Shanghai Bobby. He's won $1.7 million. But he may be left out of the starting gate on points.