09/30/2013 4:19PM

Belmont Park: Orb probably finished for the year

Barbara D. Livingston
Plans for next year are up in the air for Orb, who finished last in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

This content is part of a free preview of DRF Plus. Click to learn more.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who finished last in Saturday’s $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, will most likely not run again this year and no decision has been made on whether he will return as a 4-year-old, co-owner Stuart Janney III said Monday.

“I would suspect he’s done racing this year,” Janney said by phone Monday morning. “We’ll figure out what we want to do next year.”

On Sunday, trainer Shug McGaughey said he could not find an obvious excuse for Orb, who returned to the Fair Hill training center in Maryland Saturday night after the race. An endoscopic examination did not reveal any blood or mucus in his lungs and the horse did not appear to have any other physical infirmities.

“Something happened,” McGaughey said. “I don’t know what it was. I’ll figure it out.”

Javier Castellano, who rode Orb for the first time, said Saturday that Orb was empty with five furlongs left to run in the 10-furlong Gold Cup. McGaughey said he was “dumbfounded” by the result, which came after a solid third-place finish in the Travers on Aug. 24.

“I thought he ran a good race in the Travers and he trained too well and looked too well to run like that,” McGaughey said.

Orb’s 3-year-old campaign has become a mixed bag. He won his first four starts, including the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, Grade 1 Florida Derby, and Kentucky Derby. Since then, however, he has finished fourth in the Preakness, third in the Belmont Stakes and third in the Travers, prior to his last-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

While Janney is disappointed, he is not totally surprised. Janney said he looked up the history of how the previous 10 Kentucky Derby winners fared after winning the Derby and the statistics weren’t promising.

The previous 10 Kentucky Derby winners have combined to go 8 for 29 the remainder of their 3-year-old seasons, with four of those wins coming in the Preakness. Discounting the Preakness, the previous 10 Derby winners are 4 for 19 the remainder of their 3-year-old seasons.

“Statistically, for whatever reason, it is very hard for horses that have won the Derby to have a strong second half of the year,” Janney said.

Janney said a review of those statistics was in part what went into the decision to “do things a little different” approaching the second half of the year. One was to keep Orb training at Fair Hill. The other was skipping a prep race before the Travers.

DRF Plus Preview

“I thought he ran a good race in the Travers, was just a touch short because he hadn’t had a prep race, but I also feel he wasn’t as comfortable being on the inside as he would have been on the outside,” Janney said. “But we looked forward as to what was going to go on last Saturday, then he threw us a curveball.”

John Murray More than 1 year ago
ORB was the best of a mediocre group of 3 yo's at the right time and cycled down over the summer. Kudos to Shug, Phipps, Janney connections. ORB carried the weight of "old school" hopes and aspirations amidst the flood of industry injuries, declining Beyers, drug violations and we all wanted him to succeed as much for those reasons. Hope he resurfaces healthy as a mature horse and continues for several more productive years.
liljock More than 1 year ago
Well, at least he won the one that counted the most. Hope he comes back at 4 and slugs it out in the handicap division.
Luis Juliet More than 1 year ago
Orb is Ron the Greek style horse. You never know when will run fine.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
"Something happened"...no, nothing happened. Orb, while distinguishing himself as the KD winner, is not all that special. He's good, capable, but unreliable and inconsistent. Unfortunately, he could be another one shot wonder. Give him time off and bring him back next year. Maybe maturity will help.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Above all, stop making excuses for the horse.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Bounced in the JCGC?...Orb hasn't run a credible race since the Kentucky Derby!
Bob More than 1 year ago
Finished PERIOD, is more like it!
David Rose More than 1 year ago
Would love to see Orb campaign on turf in his 4yr old campaign! He looks every bit a grass horse...build, stride, pedigree etc.
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Orb might have bounced in JCGC after Travers run he clearly needed, lets hope nothing is amiss and he returns at 4yrs. old.
Sam B More than 1 year ago
I love Orb! I hoe he’s OK! But something is wrong. After the JCGC its pretty obvious! He’s tired? nobody knows yet but to finish 22 lengths behind Ron The Greek.. Thats weird! He hadn’t faired too bad since the Derby..Ok no wins but was contending.. After Saturday its disappointing to see and hear this news! Was looking forward to seeing if he can get his step back in the Breeders Cup! Stay healthy Orb! & if your done for 2013..So be it!
John Rice More than 1 year ago
Slow horse who fluked derby in slop off a set up and never ran fast since...Fla derby was slow against nothing ...likely the most overrated horse in years