Kentucky Derby winner Orb,
who arrived at Saratoga Race Course on August 11, turned in a
four-furlong breeze over the Oklahoma training track on Monday for
Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Travers.
for the first time since his arrival at the Spa, Orb was clocked in
47.68 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 seconds with
exercise rider Jennifer Patterson aboard. The workout was the fastest of
31 at the distance on the Oklahoma training track.
thought he worked a nice, sharp half-mile," said Hall of Famer Shug
McGaughey, who trains Orb for Stuart S. Janney, III and Phipps Stable.
"Everything is going the right way. His work at Fair Hill [on August 10]
was great. He shipped up here in really good order and hasn't missed a
stride, when he's right, is so big, and he does things so easily,"
added Patterson. "He always fools me with his times when he's right,
because I just feel like we're galloping around there. I had that
feeling again this morning, which is really nice."
giving McGaughey his first Grade 1 Kentucky Derby victory, Orb finished
a non-threatening fourth in the Grade 1 Preakness and third in the
Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. He recuperated and trained at Fair Hill in
Maryland from mid-June until he was shipped to Saratoga.
think the time off after the Belmont kind of helped mature him more,
like he did over the winter," said McGaughey. "We were just trying to
get him back where we wanted him. I thought the Fair Hill thing really
worked well for him, the different therapies and being able to be
[outside]. They kept him out for a long time. Even sometimes the night
watchman would get him out and graze him. I think that experiment worked
very well. I think he's more of a horse now [than he was immediately
after the Belmont Stakes]. When he got off the van here, I thought I saw
things where he kind of matured as a horse."
believes Orb, a son of Malibu Moon, is ready for a top effort in the
Travers, which could play a large role in determining Champion
Three-Year-Old Male honors.
we're in the race to win, but if we get a really solid effort then that
would be fine, too," said McGaughey. "I think he'll be awful tough."
Orb's competition in the Travers is expected to include Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and Grade 1 Wood Memorial and Grade 1 Haskell Invitational winner Verrazano from the barn of Todd Pletcher.
the proven horses," said McGaughey of Pletcher's pair. "Palace Malice
won the Belmont and came back and ran a big race in the Jim Dandy.
Verrazano has been a 'now' horse since he ran the first time. The only
blemish he has on his record is in the Derby, and he has come back and
run two solid races down at Monmouth, so I would have to think he's
going to be very tough, too."