The Florida Derby was
billed as a three horse race between Orb, Itsmyluckyday, and Shanghai
Bobby. Orb already had enough points to get into Kentucky Derby field, but
Shanghai Bobby and Itsmyluckyday needed to run well and hit the board in order to
The race almost fit the
bill perfectly. Orb made a strong
move down the short Gulfstream Park stretch to pass Itsmyluckyday and draw off
to a convincing two and three quarter length win. It was only Shanghai Bobby
who fell short. Shanghai Bobby battled with the early leaders on the inside of
the track and came up empty as the horses headed for home.
Orb earned 100 points for
the Florida Derby victory, which puts him on top of the Road to the Derby points board with 150. Itsmyluckyday picks up 40 points for his second place finish and raises
his total to 50, a number that will safely put him into the Run for the Roses.
On the other hand Shanghai Bobby’s
fifth place finish earned him no points, leaving him with only 24 points, which
is probably not enough to make the field.
It appears that Orb’s
trainer, Shug McGaughey is on his
way back to the Kentucky Derby, one of the few races that the Hall of Fame
trainer has yet to win. The always reserved McGaughey was pleased with the
performance of his Malibu Moon colt, “He ran pretty good, he beat some of the
colts he was supposed to beat. I am very pleased with today’s effort. Johnny
rode a great race. We’re tickled to death with where we stand.”
Orb’s jockey, John Velazquez, notched his fifth
victory of the day with the win in the Florida Derby. Those wins probably
helped to make up for the missed mount on Animal Kingdom in the Dubai World
Cup. Velazquez now has the mount on the current Derby favorite and he gave Orb
his endorsement, “He has all the talent in the world. He has the right demeanor.
If everything works out the way he did it today, he can definitely win it (the
Orb looked a bit sweaty
and washed out at the starting gate and the winning time for nine-furlong race was
a slow 1:50.87. Regardless of that, Orb will take McGaughey back to Churchill
Downs for another try to win the Roses. He got closest in the 1989 when the
great Easy Goer finished second.