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Orb preveailed in the Kentucky Derby to stamp himself the leader of the 3-year-old division. (Photo courtesy Eclipse Sportswire)

Making the Grade, which will run right up until the Belmont Stakes, will focus on the winners of the big races, usually from the previous weekend, who could impact the 2013 Triple Crown. We’ll be taking a close look at impressive winners and evaluating their chances to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes based on factors such as ability, running style, connections (owner, trainer, jockey) pedigree.

This week we take a look at Orb , impressive winner of the $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.

(Note: This blog is updated from an earlier version that ran after Orb won the Fountain of Youth Stakes.)

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Bay Colt

Sire (Father): Malibu Moon

Dam (Mother): Lady Liberty, by Unbridled

Breeder: Stuart S. Janney III

and Phipps Stable (Ky.)

Owner: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

After breaking through with a victory in his fourth career start, Orb has put together a five-race winning streak that cemented his status as the top horse in the 3-year-old male division. After winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Florida Derby, Orb gave Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey his first career victory in the Kentucky Derby with a dominant 2 1/2-length triumph under Joel Rosario.

Ability: Plagued by sluggish starts in his first two races, Orb showed ability in his debut when he charged from far back to finish a strong third in a maiden race at Saratoga Race Course that was won by future Grade 1 winner Violence. The Malibu Moon colt acted up in the starting gate in his second race and never seriously contended. Orb showed improvement in his third race and then put it all together in his fourth start when he stalked the pace and drew clear to a two-length victory in a one-mile race in late November at Aqueduct, defeating eventual Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary.

A one-length win from off the pace in a 1 1/8-mile race on Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park earned Orb a shot in the Fountain of Youth, and he capitalized with an explosive rally to win from off the pace.

After inhaling well-regarded Itsmyluckyday to win the Florida Derby in his final prep race for the Kentucky Derby, Orb was tabbed the favorite for the first jewel of the Triple Crown and boy did he live up to expectations. Orb unleashed a powerful, winning bid on the final turn in the 1 1/4-mile Kentcuky Derby, picking off opponents one by one to move into striking distance at the top of the stretch. Most horses would flatten out a bit when asked to make a prolonged rally from the start of the final turn through the stretch, but not Orb. The talented Malibu Moon colt shifted gears through the muddy stretch and charged to the front near the eighth pole for a convincing win. 

Running style: Since Orb has resolved his early-career problems with slow starts, he has been able to show his class. He seems to thrive when allowed to settle into a nice early rhythm and make one sustained, powerful rally. Two of his graded stakes wins have come from far back, but make no mistake, Orb is not simply a closer who needs a fast pace to set up his closing rally. He is very willing to adjust based upon the instructions relayed to him by his rider depending on how a race sets up.

If there is a brisk early pace, such as there was in the Kentucky Derby, Orb can settle near the back of the field and conserve energy until his rider asks him to accelerate. In the Florida Derby, the pace was much easier and Orb was only four lengths off the pace after a half-mile to make sure he was not left with too much ground to make up in the stretch. It is this versatility that should serve him well in the Preakness, and it doesn't hurt that he has the hottest jockey on the planet making the decisions to put him in the best position to succeed.

"We're set up better than anybody, and if everything is right, I can't wait to get to Preakness and do it again," McGaughey said.

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Connections: A 2004 inductee into the Racing Hall of Fame, Shug McGaughey has won nine Breeders’ Cup races and trained nine champions. McGaughey won 15 Grade 1 races in 1988 and was the Eclipse Award winner as outstanding trainer. Among a long list of stars that flourished under McGaughey’s care are Hall of Famers Personal Ensign and Easy Goer, the latter the winner of the 1989 Belmont Stakes (G1).

Orb is owned by Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable.

The Phipps family has been a powerful force in Thoroughbred racing for nearly a century. Run by Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps, the Phipps family’s roots in Thoroughbred racing date back to the start of Wheatley Stable in 1926 by his grandmother Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps. Dinny Phipps father, Ogden Phipps, continued the great legacy of the family, which has produced stars such as Bold Ruler (sire of Secretariat), Buckpasser, Easy Goer and Personal Ensign. Phipps Stable, owned by Dinny Phipps and his children, raced homebred champions Inside Information, Smuggler, Rhythm and Storm Flag Flying and currently race turf star Point of Entry. Dinny Phipps has served as chairman of The Jockey Club since 1983.

"I think it's terrific, absolutely wonderful," Phipps said about winning the Kentucky Derby. "It's really the culmination of horse racing, and I am thrilled to be here today."

Janney, vice-chairman of The Jockey Club, was introduced to racing through his parents, Stuart and Barbara, who owned Hall of Famer Ruffian. The Janneys also raced Private Terms and Icecapade.

Janney owns about 80 horses, many in partnership with Phipps Stable. He is the first cousin of Dinny Phipps. Multiple Grade 1 winner Coronado’s Quest and current Grade 1 winner Data Link are among the stars Janney has campaigned.

Joel Rosario committed to ride Animal Kingdom in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on the same weekend as the Florida Derby. He ultimately won the World Cup but had lost the prized Derby mount on Orb until John Velazquez, who rode Orb in his Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby victories, opted to keep the mount on Wood Memorial Stakes winner Verrazano for the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Rosario capitalized.

The hottest rider on the planet entering the Derby - Rosario captured the leading rider title during his first full meet at Keeneland, compiling 38 victories to set a record for most wins by a jockey in a spring meet - gave Orb a perfect ride on the first Saturday in May.

"This race is really special," Rosario said. "Right now I feel like I win the Kentucky Derby, it's like a dream. I feel so good right now, I can't explain to you how I feel."

Rosario's best previous finish was fourth aboard Make Music for Me in 2010. 

Pedigree: Orb’s sire, Malibu Moon, is a son of 1992 Horse of the Year and influential sire A.P. Indy. Malibu Moon has emerged as a top sire in his own right with champion Declan's Moon and Grade 1-winning females Life At Ten, Devil May Care, and Malibu Mint among his top runners. Malibu Moon has shown he is very proficient at siring a top-class racehorses capable of excelling at 1 ¼ miles or longer and Orb confirmed that ability.

Orb hails from a classy female family that includes many of the standouts previously mentioned as cultivated by the Janney family, including two-time champion Ruffian, Grade 1 winners and sires Private Terms and Coronado’s Quest and Grade 2 winners and sires Icecapade and Buckfinder.

His dam (mother) won at 1 ½ miles on the grass at Keeneland and at 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Saratoga Race Course. Orb’s grandam (maternal grandmother), Mesabi Maiden, won the 1996 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

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Haciendo El Grado: Orb

En Español

Translated by Jose Contreras

Haciendo el Grado, que se extenderá hasta el Belmont Stakes (G1), se centrará en los ganadores de las grandes carreras, por lo general de el fin de semana anterior, quienes podrían afectar a la Triple Corona del 2013. Le estaremos dando un vistazo de cerca a los impresionante ganadores y evaluar sus posibilidades de ganar el Kentucky Derby 2013 (G1) basado en factores como la habilidad, estilo de carrera, conexiones (dueño, entrenador, jinete) y pedigree.

Esta semana le echamos un vistazo a Orb, impresionante ganador del Kentucky Derby de $2 millones de dólares el 4 de mayo en Churchill Downs.

(Nota: Este blog es una actualización de la versión anterior que se publicó después de que Orb ganó el Fountain of Youth Stakes.)

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Potro Bayo

Padre (Sire): Malibu Moon

Madre (Dam): Lady Liberty,
por Unbridled

Criador (Breeder): Stuart S. Janney III
y Phipps Stable

Entrenador (Trainer): Shug McGaughey

Después de romper con una victoria en su cuarta carrera, Orb ha creado una racha de cinco carreras ganadas que cimentó su estatus como el caballo encima de la división masculina de 3 años de edad. Después de ganar el Fountain of Youth Stakes y El Florida Derby, Orb le dio al entrenador del Salón de la Fama Shug McGaughey su primera victoria en el Kentucky Derby con un triunfo dominante de 2 ½ cuerpos bajo Joel Rosario.

Habilidad: Plagado por arranques lentos en sus dos primeras carreras, Orb mostró habilidad en su debut cuando cerró desde muy atrás para terminar un fuerte tercer lugar en Saratoga Race Course que fue ganada por el futuro ganador de grado 1 Violence. El potro de Malibu Moon actuó en la puerta de salida en su segunda carrera y nunca sostuvo en serio ataque. Orb mostró mejoría en su tercera carrera y luego sobresalió en su cuarta apertura cuando estuvo cerca del ritmo y sacó una clara victoria de dos cuerpos en una carrera de una milla a finales de noviembre en Aqueduct, derrotando al eventual ganador del Louisiana Derby, Revolutionary.

Una victoria de un cuerpo de longitud de fuera de ritmo en una carrera de 1 1/8-mile el 26 de enero en Gulfstream Park, le dio a Orb una oportunidad en el Fountain of Youth, y capitalizó con una movida explosiva al ganar desde fuera de ritmo.

Después de inhalar al buen considerado Itsmyluckyday para ganar el Florida Derby en su carrera de preparación final para el Kentucky Derby, Orb fue instalado el favorito para la primera joya de la Triple Corona, y vaya que respondio a la altura de las expectativas. Orb desató una poderosa movida ganadora en la última curva en el Kentucky Derby de 1 y ¼ de milla, pasando oponentes uno por uno para llegar a una corta distancia en la parte superior del tramo. La mayoría de los caballos se cansan un poco cuando se les pidió hacer una movida prolongada desde el inicio de la última vuelta, pero no Orb. El talentoso potro de Malibu Moon cambió de velocidad por el tramo enlodado y tomó control de la parte delantera cerca del último octavo para una convincente victoria.

Estilo de Carrera: Desde que Orb ha resuelto sus problemas de arranques lentos al inicio de su carrera, ha sido capaz de demostrar su clase. Él parece prosperar cuando se le permite instalarse en un buen ritmo y hacer una sostenida y potente movida. Dos de sus victorias de stakes graduadas han venido de lejos, pero no nos engañemos, Orb no es simplemente un cerrador más que necesita un ritmo rápido para instalar su movida de cierre. Él está muy dispuesto a ajustar en base a las instrucciones transmitidas a él por su jinete en función de cómo establece el ritmo de la carrera.

Si hay un ritmo inicial rápido, tal como lo hubo en el Kentucky Derby, Orb puede instalarse en la parte trasera del campo y conservar energía hasta que su jinete le pida que acelere. En el Florida Derby, el ritmo era mucho más fácil y Orb solamente estaba a cuatro cuerpos del líder después de una media milla para asegurarse de que no le quedará mucho camino por recorrer en la recta final. Es esta versatilidad que le había de servir bien en el Preakness, y no hace daño que tiene el jinete más caliente del planeta tomando las decisiones para ponerlo en la mejor posición para tener éxito.

"Nos preparamos mejor que nadie, y si todo está bien, no puedo esperar a llegar al Preakness y hacerlo de nuevo", dijo McGaughey.


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Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Conexiones: Introducido en el Racing Hall of Fame en el 2004, Shug McGaughey ha ganado nueve carreras de la Breeders’ Cup y entrenado a nueve campeones. McGaughey ganó 15 carreras de grado 1 en el año 1988 y fue el ganador del Premio Eclipse como entrenador excepcional. Entre una larga lista de estrellas que florecieron bajo el cuidado de McGaughey son los caballos del Salón de la Fama Personal Ensign y Easy Goer, este último fue ganador del Belmont Stakes de 1989 (G1).

Orb es propiedad de Stuart Janney S. III y Phipps Stable.

La familia Phipps ha sido una fuerza poderosa en las carreras de caballos durante casi un siglo. Dirigido por Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps, las raíces de la familia Phipps en las carreras llegan desde el comienzo de Wheatley Stable en 1926 por su abuela, la señora Henry Carnegie Phipps. El padre de Dinny Phipps, Ogden Phipps, continuó el gran legado de la familia, que ha producido estrellas como Bold Ruler (padre de Secretariat), Buckpasser, Easy Goer y Personal Ensign. Phipps Stable, propiedad de Dinny Phipps y sus hijos, corrió a campeones que ellos criaron como Inside Information, Smuggler, Rhythm and Storm Flag Flying y actualmente corren a la estrella del césped Point of Entry. Dinny Phipps ha servido como presidente del Jockey Club desde 1983.

"Creo que es fantástico, absolutamente maravilloso", dijo Phipps en ganar el Kentucky Derby. "Es la culminación de las carrera de caballos, y estoy encantado de estar aquí hoy."

Janney, vice-presidente del Jockey Club, fue introducido a las carreras de caballos a través de sus padres, Stuart y Barbara, que fueron dueños Ruffian, que esta el Salón de la Fama. Los Janneys también corrieron a Private Terms y Icecapade.

Janney posee cerca de 80 caballos, muchos de ellos en colaboración con Phipps Stable. Él es primer primo de Dinny Phipps. El múltiple ganador de grado 1 Coronado’s Quest y el actual ganador de grado 1 Data Link se encuentran entre las estrellas que Janney ha corrido.

Joel Rosario se comprometio a montar Animal Kingdom en el Dubai World Cup de 10 millones de dólares el mismo fin de semana que el Florida Derby. Él finalmente ganó el Dubai World Cup pero había perdido la preciada monta de Orb en el Derby hasta que John Velázquez, quien montó Orb en sus victorias en el Fountain of Youth y el Florida Derby, optó por mantener la monta en el ganador del Wood Memorial Stakes Verrazano para la primera joya de la Triple Crown. Rosario aprovecho.

El jinete más caliente en el planeta entrando al Derby - Rosario ganó el título de líder durante su primera temporada complete en Keeneland, compilando 38 victorias para establecer un récord de más victorias por un jinete en la temporada de primavera - le dio a Orb dio una monta perfecta en el primer sábado de mayo.

"Esta carrera es muy especial", dijo Rosario. "En este momento me siento como que gane el Kentucky Derby, es como un sueño. Me siento muy bien en este momento, yo no te puedo explicar lo que siento."

El mejor resultado previo de Rosario fue cuarto lugar a bordo de Make Music for Me en el 2010.

Pedigree: El padre de Orb, Malibu Moon, es un hijo del Caballo del Año de 1992 y un influyente semental A.P. Indy. Malibu Moon, ha emergido como un alto semental en su propio derecho, con el campeón Declan’s Moon y las ganadoras de grado 1 Life at Ten, Devil May Care, y Malibu Mint entre sus principales corredores. Malibu Moon ha demostrado que es muy competente en producir caballos de carreras de primer nivel capaces de sobresalir en 1 ¼ millas o más y Orb ha confirmado esa habilidad.

Orb viene de una familia con clase femenina que incluye muchos de los destacados anteriormente mencionados, cultivados por la familia de Janney, como la dos veces campeóna Ruffian, ganadores de grado 1 y sementales Private Terms y Coronado’s Quest y ganadores de grado 2 y sementales Icecapade y Buckfinder.

Su madre (dam) ganó en 1 ½ millas en el césped en Keeneland y en 1 1/8 millas en la pista principal en Saratoga Race Course. La abuela materna de Orb, Mesabi Maiden, ganó el Black-Eyed Susan Stakes de 1996.


Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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