Two three-year-old colts were featured
in this weekend's stakes races, both of whom will likely be among the
top selections in the Kentucky Derby. Although Orb and Revolutionary
ran in different races over the weekend, they have met before: in the second at Aqueduct on November 24, 2012. That was a $67,000 maiden
special weight contested at one mile, in which Orb prevailed over
1-5 favorite Revolutionary found early
trouble that day, as he was blocked at the start and came away last.
Orb was taken back after a clean start, and the two Derby hopefuls
trailed the field at the first call. John Velasquez took
Revolutionary to the rail, while Orb was guided outside to a clearer
path by Joel Rosario. When things opened up in the stretch, though,
it was Orb who had all of the run. Orb came out a bit at the top of
the lane, but was quickly redirected to his target, running right
towards pacesetting Freedom Child, who deferred and shifted inside as
Orb ran by. Orb ran without Lasix that day, as he had before.
Revolutionary has raced three times
since. First, he remained at the same conditions on a good Aqueduct
inner track. Drawn outside that day, Revolutionary broke flawlessly,
this time under Ramon Dominguez, and pressed the pace in third before
drawing off to a commanding victory.
Next came the Withers, where
Revolutionary received a third rider change to Javier Castellano,
Like in the maiden race against Orb, Revolutionary was drawn inside
and took up running at the back of the pack near the rail. Unlike the
maiden race, however, Revolutionary came into the stretch full of run
and bobbed and weaved his way to a neck victory.
Most recently, in the Louisiana Derby, Castellano remained as the rider and again took Revolutionary
to the back early. He avoided traffic this time, however, and opted
to circle the field rather than come up the inside. This kept
Revolutionary free from trouble, but it also got him to the lead at
the top of the stretch where he would have to hold horses off.
Revolutionary showed a new dimension in responding, engaging with
Mylute before taking command by a neck.
Closing into a solid pace,
Revolutionary ran his final ¼ in 12 & 2/5. The last ¾ of the
race went in 38 & 2/5 for a final time of 1:50 & 1/5. Nothing
spectacular, but Revolutionary has shown the ability to pass horses
and draw off. He has also shown the ability to engage with
approaching horses and hold them off. He is a member of female family
1-x, which bodes well for his chances in the Kentucky Derby, and a
dosage profile of 10-8-12-1-1 indicates some true staying stamina in
his recent ancestry.
Orb has also raced three times since
his maiden win over Revolutionary. He was sent first to a $75,000,
nine furlong optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park, where he ran
with Lasix for the first time. Orb was held back early and settled in
last before beginning his run on the backstretch and taking command
in the lane. In his first test at nine furlongs, Orb ran his final ¼
in 13 & 1/5 after a slow opening. The last ¾ went in a solid 37
& 2/5 for a 1:51 final time.
John Velasquez got the call for the
Fountain of Youth, Orb's next start. He took Orb back, as usual, off
of the hot pace. Violence overtook the pacesetter coming around the
far turn, but Orb ran by him in the stretch. Violence dug in, but Orb
held on stubbornly for his third consecutive victory.
In the Florida Derby, Orb stayed
closer to the slow pace, but had racing room as usual. He began his
run going into the far turn and caught Itsmyluckyday in deep stretch.
Like in his maiden race and the Fountain of Youth, Orb came into the
stretch with a powerful run, then almost seemed to flatten for a
second at the top of the lane before locking onto the lead horse. Orb
ran his final ¼ in 12 & 2/5 after a slow beginning. The final ¾
went in 38 flat for a 1:50 & 4/5 final time.
While I am no expert on emotional
confirmation, Orb has always had clean trips and has seemingly been
deferred to by horses he passes. He is a member of female family 8-c,
which includes Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and all-timers Ruffian
and John Henry (plus another very sound racehorse, Brass Hat). His
11-12-15-0-2 dosage profile, like that of Revolutionary, has plenty
I admire the accomplishment of both of
these horses, but at the moment, Orb looks like the most dangerous
horse pointing toward Churchill Downs. Revolutionary is among the
rest of my top five, which includes, in no specific order,
Itsmyluckyday, Vyjack, and Normandy Invasion. We will know more about
the latter two, Verrazano, and the interesting Mr. Palmer this