Updated on 02/26/2013 10:43AM

Gulfstream Park: Orb capitalizes on fast pace to outrun Violence in Fountain of Youth

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Tom Keyser
Orb and jockey John Velazquez rally by Violence in the stretch of the Fountain of Youth Stakes.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  Trainer Shug McGaughey should have been rubbing his hands in delight after they posted a 45.45-second opening half-mile split for Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. But at the time, the Hall of Fame trainer was otherwise occupied.

“I was watching the race on TV and I couldn’t find him,” said McGaughey, referring to his stretch-running Orb. “But when he came into the picture I said to myself if they slow down, he’s going to get them.”

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

And sure enough Orb did, rallying off the extremely fast pace to run down and then outfinish the 3-5 favorite Violence by a half-length to win the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and earn himself 50 valuable qualifying points for the 2013 Kentucky Derby. It was another 6 3/4 lengths farther back to third-place finisher Speak Logistics.

Orb, a son of Malibu Moon owned by Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable, entered the Fountain of Youth off two consecutive victories, including a one-length allowance win going 1 1/8 miles here last month.

As expected, Majestic Hussar sprinted right to the lead, cutting out suicidal splits of 23.11, 45.45, and a blistering 1:08.85 for the opening six furlongs. Violence was taken several lengths back off the leader by jockey Javier Castellano once settling down the backstretch before launching his bid on the second turn to engage the tiring leader nearing the quarter pole.

Orb finally came into the picture, much to McGaughey’s delight, as the field left the backstretch and continued to advance steadily while kept four wide on the final bend by jockey John Velazquez. Orb eventually overtook Violence in late stretch before hanging on determinedly to maintain a narrow advantage to the wire.

Speak Logistics rallied mildly to best the tiring Majestic Hussar by two lengths to be third. He was followed by He’s Had Enough, Cerro, Sr. Quisqueyano, Joshua’s Comprise, and Elmutahid.

Orb completed the distance in 1:42.24 and paid $12.80.

McGaughey said that the Todd Pletcher-trained Violence “kept going a bit when we came to him but at that point I still thought we had him. When he made the lead he did the same thing he did the last time in the allowance race, he kind of pulled himself up a little bit, but that’s just being young. The strides he’s made this winter are absolutely incredible to me.”

McGaughey said he was uncertain just what would be next for Orb.

“I’ll talk to Stuart Janney and the Phippses and see what they want to do and take it from there,” said McGaughey.

When asked about the Kentucky Derby, McGaughey quipped “Don’t worry about the Kentucky Derby yet.” He then added  “Actually I am worried about it. I’ve been worried about it since I started rubbing horses in 1971 or ‘72 .”