10/03/2013 4:16PM

Belmont notes: McGaughey could run Orb again this year


ELMONT, N.Y. – Kentucky Derby winner Orb might not be finished running this year after all.

Orb, who has spent most of the past four months training at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, has returned to Belmont Park, where on Wednesday he galloped over the main track. Orb finished last – without an apparent excuse – in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup here.

Trainer Shug McGaughey, who has sung the praises of Fair Hill all summer, said he wanted the horse at Belmont, where he could monitor his progress.

“I just got to try to figure it out,” McGaughey said as he watched Orb gallop under exercise rider Mark Phillips. “I got too much going on where I can’t be going down there as much as I was.”

After Orb went past the finish line, McGaughey said, “He looked good to me. We’ll see how he goes and make some sort of decision here.”

While the Breeders’ Cup is an unlikely option, McGaughey said he mentioned to co-owner Stuart Janney III, who was at Belmont on Thursday, “There’s always the Cigar Mile, too.”

On Monday, Janney said Orb was likely done racing for this year and that he would make a decision regarding next year at a later date.

Coincidentally, Orb won a one-mile maiden race last year on the Cigar Mile card at Aqueduct. It was the start of a five-race winning streak that included the Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby, and Kentucky Derby.

Along with Orb, McGaughey brought the Grade 1 winner Hymn Book back to Belmont Park after he had shipped to Fair Hill following his third-place finish in last Saturday’s Grade 2 Kelso.

McGaughey said he saw enough from Hymn Book out of that race to point him to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

“I thought he ran really well,” McGaughey said. “We put the blinkers on him; we put him in the race. One of the speed horses didn’t break. That kind of hampered us, where we were between horses the whole way.”

McGaughey said in the Dirt Mile, “You’re going to get a pace. Two turns ain’t going to hurt him.”

Velazquez nears another milestone

Already this year, jockey John Velazquez has won his 5,000th career race and become the all-time leading rider in races won at Saratoga. Now, he is approaching yet another milestone: the all-time leading rider in North America in purse money won.

Entering Thursday’s card at Belmont Park, Velazquez’s mounts had earned $296,829,387, putting him $1,085,452 behind Pat Day’s record of $297,914,839.

As he has done with his previous accomplishments, Velazquez downplayed the significance of the achievement.

“We’ve got more racing – there’s more money, there’s more racing dates, there’s more races, period,” said Velazquez, who recently passed Jerry Bailey for second on the all-time list. “It’s nice to see your name up there, but it was so much different when they did it. Realistically, I don’t think it’s anything that big because they did it at a much different time.”

Velazquez will be riding at Keeneland on Friday through Sunday. On Saturday, he will ride Wise Dan in the Grade 1, $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile.

Wise Dan’s appearance in that race saved Velazquez from having to make a difficult decision about whom to ride in Saturday’s Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park. He had ridden both Havana, trained by Todd Pletcher, and Honor Code, trained by McGaughey, to good-looking debut victories at Saratoga and would have had a difficult choice to make.

“I was kind of committed to the horse of Todd’s; he was the first one who broke his maiden,” Velazquez said. “It would be hard to get off of him anyway, although I was leaning toward Shug’s horse, thinking that he’ll probably be the best horse later on. I’m glad I didn’t have to make that decision. It was easier to go to Keeneland and let those two battle here, and later on, I hope I get one of them back.”

Brown doubles his pleasure

Trainer Chad Brown will run two horses in both of Sunday’s $200,000 graded stakes for 2-year-olds on the turf that are Win and You’re In races for Breeders’ Cup events next month at Santa Anita.

In the Grade 3 Pilgrim, which offers a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Brown sends out Bobby’s Kitten and Shadow Banking, both coming off strong maiden victories.

Bobby’s Kitten, a son of Kitten’s Joy, set a strong early pace and kept on going to win a 1 1/16-mile race by 2 3/4 lengths at Saratoga. Shadow Banking, a son of Harlan’s Holiday – and a full brother to Stormy Len, who runs in Saturday’s Grade 1 Jamaica – came from off the pace to win his debut here.

Due Diligence won his debut for Chad Brown by 7 1/2 lengths but was sold privately to Michael Tabor, John Magnier, and Derrick Smith and turned over to Pletcher.

In the Miss Grillo, which offers a fees-paid berth to the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Brown sends out Granny Mc’s Kitten, winner of the P.G. Johnson Stakes as a maiden, and Testa Rossi, a French-bred filly who won three consecutive races in France before being shipped to Brown.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin also entered two in the Miss Grillo – Sky Painter and Dancing House.

Lighthouse Bay okay after scratch

Grade 1 winner Lighthouse Bay suffered some minor scrapes on her hocks and one on her stifle as a result of a mishap at the gate Wednesday but was otherwise reported to be in good health, according to trainer George Weaver.

Lighthouse Bay, winner of the Grade 1 Prioress at Saratoga, reared up in the gate just before the start of the $100,000 Catinca Stakes, in which she was the 4-5 favorite, and was scratched by the track veterinarian.

Weaver said he was using the Catinca as a prep for the Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 19.

“It doesn’t look too bad,” Weaver said. “But you know the second 24 hours can be worse than the first 24 hours. We’re going to make sure she’s okay these next couple of days, and if she’s okay, then we’re going to try and make that race.”

Brenda Benavidez More than 1 year ago
How do ppl vote for Eclipse awards nominees any way? Anyone?
Mark More than 1 year ago
and what does 3 year old eclipse mean for a horse that hasn't won since may mean? a horse that has not won a race in his last 4 starts and was buried first time vs 4 and up ? he has no shot to win . but if he did do you really think hes better than palace malice now and going forward ? honestly.would you feel vindicated ? I told you so ? really ?
Walter More than 1 year ago
Good to see DRF has stopped the pay per view on most of their articles. I purchased a form yesterday & today, so they profited from me. Now I can voice an opinion. Thanks DRF
Scott More than 1 year ago
I singled Orb in an Exacta with 10 horses listed for 2nd place and cashed a nice ticket on him in the Derby. Being that I have only recently started scoring in the Derby (hit on Animal Kingdom and Supersaver and everything prior was either near misses or complete wiffs) I will always be a fan and love this horse. I do wonder if he's lost his will, because he did no running whatsoever in the JCGC. I like the idea of running him in the Clark (Thomas said it first below), but part of me thinks they should give him the rest of the year off and forget about the Eclipse for now. Bring him back in January or close to that time in Florida and try an Allowance to gauge his interest. If he can't stomp an Allowance group, then retire him and thank him for the memories. If he comes back strong, then his upside might be good enough to get you a better Eclipse award next year.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I think Shug is rolling up his sleeves now boys and girls. He is getting hands on as well he should. Fair Hill definately is the place for R&R...which Orb needed after the stretch of races he had. But maybe Orb just got complacent in that laid back environment. We all know he is capable of WAY better than his last. My thoughts....Clarke at Churchill's meet.
Scott More than 1 year ago
The Clark makes sense for a many reasons. He clearly handled the wet track on Derby Day and that time of year might produce another wet run over the Churchill surface. Additionally, it should draw a weaker field without actually dropping him into an Allowance race to start his 4 year old campaign (a route that I was thinking might be best just to gauge his interest).
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
The time between seems logical also as does the 1 1/8.
Mark More than 1 year ago
sounds like shug mismanaged then ? did not know his colt ? by sending to fairhill ? mistake ? wow . not the awe shucks good ol boy .
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
No Mark. He sent him there to recover from racing stresses. It worked as he ran well in Travers. Mistake MAYBE was leaving him there. Or not giving him a Travers prep as THAT race seemed to knock him out judging from his GOLD CUP effort. So, I guess you have a point. I personally would have skipped Belmont and run in Jim Dandy and Travers. But you know what they say about hindsight?
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Mark, agree with you, don't pass put :) I think Orb has soured, maybe "just need's to learn how to be a horse again"
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Bryan Tripoli More than 1 year ago
I for one will now only be checking drf once a week for stakes beyers. Paulick, bloodhorse, as well as a few other sites offer the same analysis and insight FOR FREE. Not to mention free PPs for other sources as well. It's basically turned into paying the $7.50 for the form just for the beyers. NOT WORTH IT! All the other info in your PPs is in all the other PPs as well. There are actually many PPs I prefer now over DRF, TimeformUS being one of them. Ladies and gentlemen, the end of the DRF is quickly approaching. PS: Hey Andy Beyer, if you want your speed figs to live on, syndicate them and allow any PP company to pay u for the rights to use them for a fee.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
i see this story that is not much of a preview is no longer behind the pay wall. Ah, the reduction of pay wall stories begins...?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Well now that this article is free, I can see the eight or nine people below that paid the fee to read the articles and post without contradiction. That is so cute. I know there is at least one of you below who might burst a jugular that DRF made this article free.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I didn't mean that to sound smart arsed, maybe just a bit, but can understand. I love reading the articles, but for me, I won't buy on principle, and hate to see DRF fall even further on poor and not well thought out business principles.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
No worries, be smart arse all ya want. I get "access" only because of pp's, I wouldn't pay extra just for "plus content".
Scott More than 1 year ago
I was really wanting to read this article and am glad they made it free. Like you, I wasn't going to pay on principle. The simple fact is there are way too many other options for them to make us pay for the articles.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
I didn't buy.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
You weren't the one I thought might burst a vein. But, admit it, you miss me, yes you do. Don't think this will last. I mean the extra 56 bucks a month won't cut it for them.
Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
Who cares? I don't, this horse cost me a few $$$$. When a trainer says a horse is doing well, (a trainer of Shuggs stature) you know you expect him to run a little bit. I don't mind loosing but really, this horse is a dud. Shugg sounds like D. Wayne here, I am totally turned off by this barn and that's a shame. I will never listen to this trainer again, PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, but that how I feel.
Mark More than 1 year ago
you mean the chills he got from the pre Preakness work ?
Perl More than 1 year ago
I doubt they will run him again. Perhaps they figure they need one more win now that Palace Malice may have taken the lead for 3yo champion honors. If neither runs again this year it will be a close vote, assuming Will Take Charge doesn't run well in the BC Classic, which he won't.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
Good point about them hoping for championship. If Palace or Will Take Charge win BC, game over. Maybe even if one or the other finishes second to an older horse. But if it is middling, maybe hit the board finish for either, then Orb wins Cigar Mile - who is the champ? Orb will have Gr. 1 edge in big way. 3-1. he has run decently in all but last, too.
Scott More than 1 year ago
I think if PM or WTC hit the board in the BCC, then they win the 3 Year old Eclipse if Orb doesn't run again this year. If he wins the Cigar Mile, then it gets a little tricky, because he's really only run 1 terrible race all year. Still, winning at a mile doesn't tend to inspire the voters and I think that the BCC will hold sway. If PM or WTC win the BCC, then they take an easy landslide vote in the Eclipse. Note: While both PM and WTC are very nice 3 year olds I don't think either can win the BCC and really think 3rd might be the best they can muster against a pretty decent older crop. I will wait for the actual entrees to be confirmed before going too nuts on my predictions, because there is still a lot of time until the big race.
B More than 1 year ago
I hadn't thought about that. If PM or WTC don't run well in the Classic, I guess it's possible that a Cigar Mile win could put Orb back on top with that KY Derby win, but he does have to win it and last week it didn't look like he could have won an allowance race. Running him again this year after that last debacle doesn't seem like an ever patient McGaughey move to me.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
WTC and Palace Malice both have no shot in Classic. I like the colts. But the race will be won by MMM,DUDE,Fort Larned,or My pick...RON THE GREEK. I believe Mott discovered he can lay closer to the pace and actually wants to. JCGC was a big confidence boost for this classy horse. He puts races together well. If WTC and PM.run in Classic they hurt their chances at Eclipse. Right now I think Orb still on top..Or three way tie. Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby carry more weight than Travers and Penn Derby...or Just Belmont. Problem for Orb is that he is not the NOW horse of the three. And I like Clark Handicap better at 1 1/8 miles versus Cigar Mile for him.