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Orb rallies past heavily favored Violence to win the Fountain of Youth Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. (Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/Gulfstream)

By Mike Curry, @currymj19, America’s Best Racing

Orb unleashed an explosive late rally to overhaul overwhelming favorite Violence in the stretch of the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Majestic Hussar set a blistering pace in the 1 1/16-mile race before giving way to CashCall Futurity (G1) winner Violence near the top of the stretch. Orb, who settled nicely in seventh then sixth under John Velazquez in the early going, surged into contention with a sweeping bid on the final turn. He swept boldly into the stretch and reeled in Violence inside the final eighth of a mile to win by a half-length.

After closely tracking the fast pace, Violence could not match Orb in the stretch but was easily second best as the 3-5 favorite in his first race since Dec. 15.

Speak Logistics finished third and Majestic Hussar held on for fourth after ripping through an opening half-mile in :45.45 and three-eighths of a mile in 1:08.85.

Orb extended his winning streak to three for Hall of Famer trainer Shug McGaughey, who conditions the Malibu Moon colt for owners-breeders Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stables.

“I was watching on the television so I couldn't see the fractions, but when they came into the picture I said to myself, ‘If they slow down he's going to catch them.’ Of course, Violence kept going a bit, but I still thought we had him," McGaughey said. “When he made the lead he did the same thing he did in the allowance race here, pulling himself up a bit. But that's just being young.”

McGaughey and Janney teamed to win the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) earlier on the card with Grade 1 winner Data Link.

Orb comes from a classy female family that includes two-time champion Ruffian, Grade 1 winners and sires Private Terms and Coronado’s Quest and Grade 2 winners and sires Icecapade and Buckfinder.

Orb made his first career start in stakes race in the Fountain of Youth and returned $12.80 on a $2 win bet.

The Fountain of Youth was the first of 17 races that comprise the “Kentucky Derby Championship Series” in the new points system that will be used to determine the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 4. Orb banked 50 points and virtually cemented a spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs for the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

“I don’t know what the next outing will be, but we’ll see and talk to the Phipps’ and Stuart Janney and see what they want to do and go from there,” McGaughey said.

Violence earned 20 points as the runner-up to raise his total to 30, which ranks third behind Risen Star Stakes (G2) winner Ive Struck a Nerve (51) and Orb (50)

For an Equibase chart, click here.

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FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH SLIDESHOW

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