Updated on 04/17/2013 8:49AM

Kentucky Derby: Orb emerges from fog during sharp workout

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Barbara D. Livingston
Orb worked out Sunday at Palm Meadows and will have another workout next weekend in Florida before shipping to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.

INDIANTOWN GAP, Fla. -  The fog that still shrouded much of the racetrack shortly after sunrise Sunday morning at Payson Park proved to be more of an issue for onlookers than it did for Florida Derby winner Orb, who breezed an easy half-mile in the first of his three scheduled workouts prior to the Kentucky Derby.

With assistance from Payson’s outrider Wendy Culberson, positioned on her pony at the half- mile pole, and a couple of cell phones, Daily Racing Form timed Orb in 48.28 seconds for four furlongs and 1:00.81 for his very sharp-looking five-furlong gallop out around to a very visible seven-eighths pole. Regular exercise rider Jenn Patterson, who flew in from Keeneland the previous evening for the assignment, was sitting nearly motionless aboard Orb as the pair emerged from the fog approaching the eighth pole and continued out strongly past the wire and into the turn.   

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

“That was as easy as he can go. I felt like I was just galloping around there,” said Patterson moments after bringing Orb back to trainer Shug McGaughey’s barn. “I was coming around the turn and his ears were pricked and I thought ‘Oh no, I don’t know if I’m doing enough.’ I just moved my hands a little to let him pick it up on his own down the stretch, to make sure he was focused. But he just galloped around there. We’re definitely on the right track with him, keeping him down here and keeping him happy.”

Patterson said Orb seems to be getting better with each succeeding work.

“Each work he gets a little more mature,” said Patterson, who is also the regular exercise rider for the multiple Grade 1-winning turf horse Point of Entry. “He gets around to the pole then waits for me to ask him when to go. Then I’m just a passenger. The fog this morning was not an issue other than it kept everyone from seeing the whole breeze. For him and I, it didn’t bother us at all.”

McGaughey, who was en route from Keeneland to New York on Sunday, talked about his upcoming plans for Orb once able to speak with both Patterson and his assistant Robbie Medina immediately after the work.

“She told me that he worked great, that she was speechless after the work,” McGaughey said by phone from the Lexington airport. “Both she and Robbie said they were tickled to death by the breeze so that means I’m tickled to death by it too. He’s done so well at Payson all winter that right now I’m planning to leave him down there, work him again next Sunday, and then bring him to Kentucky. That will still give him close to two weeks to settle in at Churchill Downs, where he’ll have his final work prior to the Derby.”

Orb, who is perfect in three starts at 3, is currently tied with the undefeated Verrazano as the leading Kentucky Derby point qualifiers, having earned 150 for his victories in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Churchill Downs: Mylute looks good breezing six furlongs

Mylute, runner-up to Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby, continued his preparations for the Kentucky Derby with a six-furlong breeze in 1:12.20 on Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.

Working under Shaun Bridgmohan in company with two other Tom Amoss trainees, Mylute recorded fractions of 12.60 seconds, 24.80, 36.60, 48.40 and 1:00.20, and then galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25 and a mile in 1:39. He started about eight lengths behind his workmates and finished eight lengths in front at the wire.

"I wanted him to pass those horses down the lane and then finish once he got by them," Amoss said. "He did those things, so the work went well."

Amoss said Mylute would have two more works prior to the Kentucky Derby on May 4, but they would be much easier than Sunday's move.

Trainer Todd Pletcher worked a trio of Kentucky Oaks contenders following the morning renovation break.

Dreaming of Julia, easy winner of the Gulfstream Oaks, breezed a half-mile in 49 under Humberto Zamora and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.20.

Unlimited Budget, undefeated winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks, and Silsita, narrow winner of the Bourbonette Oaks, worked together and breezed four furlongs in 48.60. Unlimited Budget galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.80 under Patti Krotenko and Silsita, with Nick Bush aboard, galloped out in 1:02.