Updated on 05/26/2013 12:16AM

Belmont Stakes: Orb's strong gallop has McGaughey wanting to run

Tom Keyser
Orb, shown here with Jennifer Patterson before the Preakness, galloped a strong mile at Belmont Park on Thursday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Kentucky Derby winner Orb took a significant first step toward a possible start in the June 8 Belmont Stakes and a rematch with Preakness winner Oxbow with a strong one-mile gallop Thursday morning over a sealed, good Belmont Park main track.

The exercise was Orb's first since he finished fourth in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico last Saturday, and gave trainer Shug McGaughey encouragement that the horse could make the $1 million Belmont.

[BELMONT STAKES: Probable field and latest updates]

"If everything's right, he's doing right, puts his weight back on, his energy level's good, we would like to run in the Belmont," said McGaughey, who trains Orb for co-owners/breeders Ogden Mills Phipps and Stuart Janney III. "If we hit any stumbling block along the way there are plenty of other good opportunities."

While the gallop itself went smoothly, there was an anxious moment or two for McGaughey and exercise riders Jennifer Patterson and Anna Martinovsky when two loose horses went past Orb and his stable pony just seconds apart while he was waiting to train.

On a gray, humid morning, Orb came on the track at 6 a.m. accompanied by stable pony named Welle, ridden by Martinovsky. The pair stood patiently at the 1 1/4-mile pole.

Orb was still with the pony when one loose horse came flying down the stretch while a second loose horse was coming the wrong way from the backside. The second horse went by Orb first and left the track through the gap by the 1 1/4-mile pole.

The horse who had come the right way down the stretch went past Orb around the clubhouse turn and then turned around and galloped past Orb a second time before leaving the track.
"He got a little on edge," Patterson said of Orb. "When that horse came back toward us he got antsy a little bit, but we kept him moving forward."

"With all he's been through, he's seen so much, I don't think it's going to startle him," McGaughey said. "It got me off my seat."

Once the mini-commotion died down, Orb jogged for about three-eighths of a mile before leaving the pony at the 6 1/2-furlong pole. He jumped right into his gallop, but was kept closer to the outside rail than the inside rail owing to the presence of two sets of orange traffic cones, commonly referred to as dogs, which forced all horses to train on the outer half of the sealed track.

Patterson had a good hold of Orb has he galloped in sub-16-second eighths through the stretch.

"He galloped beautiful this morning," Patterson said. "He dragged me around the first part, then he did settle in my hands. I couldn't have asked him to have galloped any better."

McGaughey, who watched from the front side, said he was pleased with Orb's energy level.

"I thought he went really good," McGaughey said. "I told Jenn, "I can live with that.' He seemed to come out of his race really well. He gradually picked his feed up. I brought him out of his stall yesterday afternoon and came out on his back feet. He galloped nice this morning. If he continues in that direction, I'll be a happy guy."

Oxbow, Will Take Charge back on track

At Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Oxbow returned to the track Thursday for the first time since his 1 3/4-length triumph in the Preakness.

"All my horses that ran Preakness weekend went back for the first time this morning," said Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "I'd thought about giving them another day because of the 12 1/2-hour ship Sunday, but they'd had three days off after that, so it was all good."
Lukas said Oxbow "showed the most energy of all of them."

"He came out of the race just fine, I'll say," Lukas said.

Lukas said he will send Oxbow through "one maintenance workout" at Churchill before leaving by van on June 3, the Monday before the Belmont.

Also, Lukas confirmed Will Take Charge as a Belmont starter, with Jon Court back to ride. Court rode the colt in the Kentucky Derby and Mike Smith was aboard for the Preakness.
Itsmyluckyday, Mylute to pass Itsmyluckyday and Mylute, the second- and third-place finishers from the Preakness Stakes, will both skip the Belmont, their connections said.

Trainer Eddie Plesa said ­Itsmyluckyday, who returned to the track on Wednesday at Monmouth Park, would point to the Pegasus at Monmouth on June 16 as a prep for the Haskell Invitational on July 28.

Trainer Tom Amoss said Mylute would point to a summer campaign, but did not specify where he would return.

** With Mylute skipping the race, jockey Rosie Napravnik has been confirmed to ride Code West for trainer Bob Baffert in the Belmont.

Napravnik rode Code West to a 6 3/4-length victory in a first-level allowance race immediately following the Preakness last Saturday at Pimlico.
Napravnik, who rode Five Sixteen to a fifth-place finish in last year's Belmont, will try to join Julie Krone as the only female jockey to win the "Test of the Champion." Krone won it in 1993 aboard Colonial Affair.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee and Jay Privman

michael stapler More than 1 year ago
I don't make predictions until I see the PP's, but I would have to think that Palace Malice show make a good run off that Derby and the preps. Especially at 1 1/2 miles. We'll see when I see all the horses on paper.
Thomas s More than 1 year ago
No dominant colt = debate Excuses fly thick...chalk got boxed? Jocks job to get position isn't it? One mile and one half with 126 pounds on big sandy will separate this bunch. Phipps colt might have distance...way too many wild cards. Cappers complain? About what? Tickets in first two races have been consistently huge.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
to all the ORB fans.please answer me the following.why is it that if anyone does not think this horse is as good as you think,you come back with stronger ammunition.is it the connections that lure you in.it can't be the hope of a triple crown because he no longer is eligible.it has been a while since i have seen a horse defended so much for losing.to the extent thatt you are trashing arguably the best jock in america to date.why can't you accept evn the furthest notion from your minds.he might of had a bad day.he is a nice 3 yo. no better or worse than the next top 5.that is not a knock.it is a compliment
A Yahoo! User More than 1 year ago
Im defending Orb & Joel Rosario
Joseph Murratti More than 1 year ago
ORB, yes...Rosario, HELL NO !!! How can you expect a Closer to run inside the whole race, when his signature runs have been 4-5w romps at the end??? Joel NEEDED to place him outside, NOT ON THE RAIL. The inside, that day at Pimlico was sooo soft, NOBODY wanted the inside, not even Stevens on Oxbow.
Joseph Murratti More than 1 year ago
Tommy...did you see the horse AFTER the race? He was bouncin around like the race was a morning breeze. I blame Rosario for not getting him to position,4-5w, to do what he does best...romp the field at the end. It's not the connections, it's the fact that, all things considered, he's alot better than his rider allowed him to do. You can't watch him in the Derby & believe he'd run a rail trip to victory in the Preakness. Gary rode a masterful race, BUT DID steal it...NO???
Ken O'Hanna More than 1 year ago
I blame the incredible slow early fractions for Orb's loss in the preakness, different outcome in the Belmont, Orb wins by 5
Ken O'Hanna More than 1 year ago
Orb will romp in the Belmont Stakes!
BRUCE More than 1 year ago
O'hanna Montana ... What are you smoking ? Or drinking ? Just don't get behind the wheel.Orb is ready for the glue factory !!!
Ken O'Hanna More than 1 year ago
Orb Belmont= easy money!!
kc m More than 1 year ago
belmont aside, rumors of orb's immanent retirement were greatly exaggerated.
Howard Johnson More than 1 year ago
Speed from Dad. Stamina from Mom. When will you guys ever figure this game out. Orb will win the Belmont. Siblings Funny Moon,Ask the Moon all have won at the classic distance and Beyond.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
thank our lucky stars and i appreciate the info.now do not have to waste a saturday at belmont.can take care of other things.you gave us the winner.i am sure the same way orb won the preakness.one other thing oh mighty crystal ball.can you tell me if it will rain or shine on that day.need to make plans in advance.thank you for the wealth of info.
B More than 1 year ago
You're not very nice.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
your're welcome
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
Tom you have issues.
Lindsay Lyon More than 1 year ago
The first thing you learn around here is that a lot of horseplayers are bitter old men who love nothing more than to flex their 'wisdom' as gratingly as possible. There is no opinion so inoffensive that you can't be called a gibbering moron over it. :) Of course, there are plenty here who make discussion worth their slings and arrows.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
and down the stretch they come, and its Orb like a tremendous machine!
kc m More than 1 year ago
don't jinx him
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
Ge the quote right or do not use it!!!
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
its my quote moron!
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
san,wake up and smell the coffee brewing.it is tongue and cheek.relax.
Sam More than 1 year ago
Are you guys "nuts?" I haven't read anything in the above article that is relevant to your remarks.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
truth if there was one shred of evidence i would patronize you and buy the crap you are selling.apparently you must not follow racing or maybe do not want to accept the nickname you give yourself "the truth". my friend.the owners of orb are the elite of racing.so you must be saying they sabotaged their own horse.so maybe with everyone thinking orb would at least hit the board.the multimillionaires who own orb,stiffed him to collect a measly show bet.great synopsis sherlock.i am sure scotland yard and the nypd are looking for great profilers like you.
Joseph Murratti More than 1 year ago
It's not the connections, its the rider. Jocks do it ALL THE TIME. If you dont think so, then you never owned a contender. I HAVE.