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Kentucky Derby: Orb gives Malibu Moon classic winner
By Patrick Reed
Joy Gilbert photo courtesy of Spendthrift Farm
Orb, the emphatic winner of the 139th edition of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, became the first classic winner for his sire, 16-year-old Spendthrift Farm stallion Malibu Moon, and adds even more glow to the luster of A.P. Indy, whose influence on the contemporary Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry continues to grow.
Malibu Moon has become one of North America’s most consistent sires across the spectrum since retiring in 1999. That he has done so is a credit to both his bloodlines and an astute decision by Spendthrift’s B. Wayne Hughes, who owned and bred the son of A.P. Indy. Malibu Moon raced only twice as a 2-year-old, breaking his maiden in his second start at Hollywood Park in May 1999, before suffering a career-ending injury.
With his stud options consequently limited, Hughes decided to keep a half-interest in his horse, and sold the other half to Country Life Farm in Maryland. Malibu Moon stood at Country Life for an initial fee of $3,000, and his pedigree—out of the Group 1-winning Mr. Prospector mare Macoumba, a half-sister to four other stakes winners—suggested his potential success as a sire. Given a full book of mares at Country Life, the young stallion made the most of his opportunity.
In his first crop, Malibu Moon sired Perfect Moon, who won two graded stakes as a juvenile, including the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. His second crop brought champion 2-year-old male Declan’s Moon as well as Malibu Mint, who won the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap as a 4-year-old in 2006. Shortly after Declan’s Moon won the Eclipse Award in 2004, Malibu Moon moved to Dr. Tony Ryan’s Castleton Lyons in Lexington, Ky.
He has continued to excel ever since as both a sire of racehorses and in the commercial market, moving to Spendthrift in 2008. Over the past several years, he has sired Grade 1 winners Life At Ten, Devil May Care, Ask the Moon, Malibu Prayer, Funny Moon, and Eden’s Moon—all of whom happen to be fillies. He is also the sire of recent standout 3-year-old filly Kauai Katie. John Oxley’s multiple graded stakes winner Prospective, who finished 18th in last year’s Derby, was the most prominent son of Malibu Moon to establish much of a presence on the Triple Crown trail, until now. Devil May Care made her own appearance on the Triple Crown scene, finishing tenth in the 2010 Derby.
Orb hails from a female family tree stacked with class tracing back through several generations, but his dam, the winning Unbridled mare Lady Liberty, had failed to impress Orb’s owners-breeders with her early offspring.
Speaking at the post-Derby press conference, cousins Stuart Janney and Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps, who own and bred Orb, said that they were generally disappointed with the mare’s produce record when her potential mating in 2009 was discussed. The mare, who won four races from 17 starts and earned just over $200,000 in her career, had produced two live foals and one runner by 2009 with little to show for it. Janney credited Claiborne Farms’ Seth Hancock, his other major partner in the game, with persuading him to take a second look.
“[Hancock] said, ‘Look, she’s a good-looking mare, she’s by Unbridled,” Janney recalled. “Unbridled is getting to be a good broodmare sire, and we need to give her [another] chance.
“I come from Maryland, Malibu Moon had been in Maryland, [and] he certainly had a reputation in Maryland but that’s as a regional sire. I certainly was interested in him, and I kept saying to Seth, ‘What about Malibu Moon,’ and [the first year I asked] he said, ‘Not yet.’ And then the next year I [mentioned] Malibu Moon [again as a possibility], and Seth said, ‘I think he has shown he’s a top sire, and we’ve seen that he is, in fact, a top sire. That’s pretty much it.”
Lady Liberty is out of Black-Eyed Susan Stakes winner Mesabi Maiden, and Orb’s third dam, stakes winner Steel Maiden, is a half-sister to Wood Memorial winner and sire Private Terms as well as to three other stakes winners. Steel Maiden’s dam Laughter is a half-sister to the legendary Ruffian, owned by Janney’s parents, and to graded stakes winners Buckfinder and Icecapade; the latter is the sire of inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Wild Again.
Orb is very impressive in looks and action. Maybe he will be the one we have been waiting on to crack the triple crown. Lady Liberty and Malibu Moom....well done. :)
ORB is just a horse that started to put it all together at the right time..as for the breeding initially I was worried about the rain on derby day and decided to take a closer look at his pedigree not only did I quickly realize he had the mud influences through buckpasser,dr fager,mr prospector,in reality and Damascus but that he had a well balanced cast of influences..that gave him speed class and staying ability even a little turfability.
Regardless of whether he wins the Preakness or not, I am pretty sure this guy won't be whisked off to stud after the Triple Crown. His owners will look to campaign him through his 4yo season (yay!) and it's not like we don't know where he'll stand upon retirement! Claibourne! So that eliminates him being sold for stud duty elsewhere...THANK GOD!!
Orb is a great horse and has the pedigree to win the Belmont. That's the plus for him. But first he needs to win the Preakness. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. And IF that happens then we can consider the Belmont. I hope Orb does it, but after so many failed attempts I'm assuming he'll not be able to pass the leader or more likely, get passed right before the wire......a la Real Quiet, Silver Charm.
I really like his (Orb) pedigree on both top and bottom. He looks like he will enjoy 12F. Let me not get ahead of myself, hope he wins the Preakness.
I THINK PEDIGREE SUGGEST THAT HE HAS A GOOD CHANCE TO BE THE FIRST HORSE TO BE TRIPLE CROWN WINNER I N THE PAS 25 YRS OLD IF EVERY GOES RIGHT. HE HAS TACTICAL SPEED FOR THE PREAKNESS AND BLOODLINES SUGGEST HE CAN GET THE BELMONT DISTANCE. John Repasky
Will you may need some very deep pockets, classic female families like these always seem to reward those breeders who are patient with them, as Phipps, Janney & Hancock were in this instance.
Congrats to the AP Indy line on Derby win.