05/08/2013 11:19AM

Dick Jerardi: Jumping off Kentucky Derby winner, but glad to see McGaughey win

Barbara D. Livingston
Shug McGaughey, with jockey Joel Rosario, says he did not even consider bringing Orb to the Kentucky Derby until after his horse won the Florida Derby.

A week before the Kentucky Derby, I was thinking Goldencents. By the time I got off the plane in Louisville the Tuesday before the Derby, I was thinking Orb.

I thought the likely pace scenario favored Goldencents, but then I read Mike Welsch’s comments on Orb’s Monday workout.

I know what I know. I also know what I don’t know.

Mike’s pre-Derby observations have been invaluable for years. He was absolutely certain of Barbaro and Street Sense among others. If he liked Orb, I was prepared to forget what I thought I knew and go with Orb.

[2013 PREAKNESS STAKES: Latest news, video, and more]

Then, I got off the plane and I could not find a single person who did not love Orb. That got me concerned.

When everybody, including a few who are never right about anything, like the same horse, it starts to get scary. Even terrific horses like Orb can carry only so much weight. I had to keep looking.

By the end of the week, I had convinced myself that Goldencents was going to cruise to the front in moderate fractions. If that was that scenario, I thought he could go all the way.

If, however, it was a contested, hot pace, Orb was clearly the horse.

It was such an interesting betting proposition that somebody who played superfectas could have had it both ways, taking the best speed horse and the best closer on top of as many horses as his bankroll would allow.

Nobody would have needed Goldencents if he had one of those in-race accounts. When they were bunched up after that first quarter in 22.57 seconds, I would have taken any price on Orb.

I would not have taken any price on Palace Malice leading through a half-mile in 45.33 and six furlongs in 1:09.80. I just could not have envisioned that scenario.

The horses that were 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 after a quarter-mile finished 12, 17, 19, 14, and 18. The horses that were 16, 15, 17, 12, and 18 after a quarter-mile finished 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

That was not a coincidence.

But I do not think any scenario was going to change the winner.

I first met Shug McGaughey 25 years ago when Personal Ensign was finishing her perfect career and Easy Goer was just starting his great career. I have never heard Shug as quietly confident as he was last week. He absolutely knew Orb was going to run his best race. And he was absolutely right.

And regardless of who picked what horse, who was not happy to see Shug win the Derby?

That the great trainer only came back once after that Easy Goer Derby disappointment says everything about who he is and how he feels about his horses. Shug does not chase. He lets his horses develop at their pace and race where they should when they should.

“I do a lot from watch and feel,’’ McGaughey said after the Derby. "I’m not a vacation guy. I like to be at the barn, and that’s where I’m comfortable…I like to watch the horses train and if I don’t feel like they’re doing things exactly the way I want them to do, then I basically don’t run them.’’

Interesting concept.

“And I also do know that because of the experience that I’ve had in watching, is that sometimes if you force a horse into a race and you make a mistake, it’s a big mistake,’’ McGaughey said.

He said he did not think Kentucky Derby until Orb won the Florida Derby. Can you imagine?

Shug had the Fountain of Youth winner and was not thinking Derby. He was waiting on his horse that he admitted surprised him. The Derby was the farthest thing from his mind when 2013 began.

Now, he has a horse who is 4 for 4 in 2013, all around two turns and all impressive in so many ways.

Orb has won running at no pace. Orb has won running at a moderate pace. And Orb has won running at fast paces.

The common theme is that Orb has won.

Orb got a career-best 104 Beyer in the Derby. His turn run was sensational, passing so many horses so fast I can’t count how many no matter how many times I watch the replay.

And Orb’s stride never wavered in the stretch. He just kept coming, passing four more horses in the final quarter-mile and leaving the other 18 strung out for 50 lengths.

McGaughey said he cannot wait to get to Baltimore to see what Orb is going to do next. Me either.


redboy More than 1 year ago
Who's drinking the Orb punch?
Richard Berry More than 1 year ago
A big stout horse like Orb and his 4 times great grandfather secretariat wont have any problems get out the triple crown banners. GREAT HORSE AND TRAINER.
SaratogaBob More than 1 year ago
Count me in as can't waiting till May 18th too.
Elias Katogiritis More than 1 year ago
If the DRF handicappers could make a living betting or touting horses they would, they wouldn't be working for DRF,anybody follow the DRF best bets by D,Liftin and B. Free they keep picking these 3/5 shots that finish of the board,and they are supposed to be the best DRF has to offer, what a joke, do DRF readers really need clueless Brad and know nothing Dave to tell them that a certain odds on horse is the most probable winner of the card? If they were real handicappers they would picking to beat these fake odds on favorites.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Dave Litfin is supposed to be a good guy and he knows plenty about handicapping. I personally don't listen to who these guys pick, but you should show a little respect.
redboy More than 1 year ago
I agree . Sometimes it seems like their trying to steer you away from winners. Normandy has yet to win a Graded stakes and continues to get a ton of run in airtime my guess it wont be long before he's the M/L favorite for Breeders Cup Classsic!
Richard Gorz More than 1 year ago
Dave mabe your not enough to remember snow chief eleventh in the derby as the favorite, won the prekness
Thomas s More than 1 year ago
Watch Street Sense Derby...one of the luckiest trips in the history of the race. The deification of horse and connections is in full swing. Solid horse got every break in the world to win...passed 15 horses. Front was as hot as could be and the 5 closers made hay. Preakness is different race....easier for chalk? Front end will be tougher this time. Don't forget..."everybody is wrong."
Dave More than 1 year ago
Beware betting any horse that was up the track in the Derby back in the Preakness. At least for the win anyway, maybe use underneath. Look at the last 10 or so Preaknesses. Any winners come out of a horrible Derby performance? Lookin At Lucky had a nightmare trip from the inside, so he does not fall into the category. Point Given? Probably not. I'm talking about horses who were legitimately up the track... IMLD, Vyjack, Goldencents.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
Hansel ran like Gretel at CD but got the black eyeds and then the belmont
Black More than 1 year ago
Okay Lucky & PG don't count even though they were up the track :) Since you say *10 or so* I'll decide the so. So Louis QuartorZe was 16th So Tabasco Cat was 6th So Pine Bluff was 5th So Hansel was 10th So Snow Chief was 11th So Tank's Prospect was 7th So Gate Dancer was 5th
Bob More than 1 year ago
Ill say it again Regarding Handicappers- Tip Sheets , DRF, etc... Guys it is quite simple your watching the same race as they are . If you follow the game and I mean follow it , why even look into who they pick , it's only a pick . I never understood why people bought tip sheets like Lawton and others. Don't be media swayed. These guys have no clue what's gonna happen .. How would they?? The jockey himself doesn't know... Haha. Serious think about it
edb More than 1 year ago
Hoping for a hot and fast day for Preakness and a new set of factors. Obviously Orb is the horse to beat and who will be the rabbit this time? Palice Malice on the lead?? Lots of horses did not run their race, so here is their mulligan. I think Goldencents can do a Shackleford imitation and steal the race and pay back his believers. But of course, there is Orb.
nick More than 1 year ago
Um, excuse me, but Shackleford went to the lead and fought the pace on a Churchill track that was very unforgiving to frontrunners, and yet still finished 4th. He then went and fought for the lead in some extremely quick early fractionsin the Preakness, and won. He absolutely won it fair and square. Goldencents sat behind the speed Saturday and finished "Where?" in the Ky. Derby? Shackleford is a multiple Grade 1 winner, I believe. Show him some respect.
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
Goldencents has accomplished more at this point of his racing career than Shackleford before his Preakness.
DRFHersh More than 1 year ago
Thought it worth correcting a long comment from one "Thomas Cook" venting about DRF handicappers not picking Orb. Orb was picked on top by 11 DRF handicappers with published picks. He was the runaway consensus pick to win the Derby, and if you followed DRF Derby selections May 4, you stood a good chance of making money on the Derby.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Thank you for taking the time to correct me Mr. Hersch. But I have to disagree sir. Mike Welsch touted him. That is true. I read most articles also Everyone had Pletcheritis. Mr Beyer flat wrote he chose Goldencents. Yes, ORB was made the odds favorite Derby week...finally..but since his allowance win at Gulfstream right through his FOY and FD wins everyone was still touting Verrazano, Super 99, Revolutionary, Overanalyze etc. Since you took the effort( which I appreciate) to read my current post, check the archives since January. You'll find, sir, that I picked ORB after he won the 1 1/8 allowance to be a Derby threat. All due respect to you and DRF but that's the truth. And I bet him, for what its worth @ 13-1 in future wagers off what I saw in him training at Payson. Thank you again.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Also, a consensus pick?? That's kinda silly. Write headlines about Goldencents(Mr Beyer), Overanalyze (Mr. Crist) Verrazano (Mr Watchmaker I think) Vyjack saga with Rudy, but who wrote ORB was their PICK? MIKE Welsch was closest.
Dave More than 1 year ago
You weren't making real $ anyway unless you had Golden Soul, which aside from a commenter or 2 here and there, did anyone? I for one don't bet the Derby with a win bet on the 5-1 favorite at the front of my mind.
nick More than 1 year ago
When a horse is 5-1 when he should be 5-2 or 2-1, there is money to be made. You could back-wheel him in the Oaks/Derby double, you could wheel him on top in the exacta, or just bet him straight. I bet him in the Pick 5, and bet to win, and even though I cut my bet back because sloppy Churchill tracks often favor front end speed, I still was VERY happy. And yes, Mr. Cook, PLENTY of the DRF handicappers picked Orb on top.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Thomas you're so right however the consensus pick is the most picks in he top three. So in essence he is saying Orb was the most picked horse not to win but top three . Basically the consensus won the show bet.
Dave More than 1 year ago
Thomas, check out some offshore sites for your Derby futures. I took a bunch of fliers in early February. But I remember seeing Orb at 40 or 50-1 if I remember correctly after his GP allowance win. Didn't think Shug would target the Derby!
Richard Salvatore More than 1 year ago
DRF handicappers Brad Free, Mike Watchmaker, Mike Welsch, Marcus Hersch, and 7 others had Orb on top. That's 11 out of 25 handicappers - the next most popular selection was Normandy Invasion, with 4. I think you're only considering the handicappers who are also columnists (Beyer, Crist etc..) who for my money are better writers than handicappers.