04/29/2013 9:59AM

Kentucky Derby workouts: Orb impresses in final breeze


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When it came to this year’s Kentucky Derby workouts, they saved the best for last.

The majority of the final Derby works were already in the books by the time the racetrack opened for training Monday morning at Churchill Downs. Only one important piece of business remained, a final breeze from Florida Derby winner Orb, who delivered all that everybody expected and then some.

Barbara D. Livingston
Orb (left) breezes five furlong in 1:00.98, with stable mate Overwhelming.

Orb was one of three likely Derby starters to work Monday, along with trainer D. Wayne Lukas’s pair of Oxbow and Will Take Charge. Winning Cause also breezed during the special Derby/Oaks training session, but was withdrawn from consideration for the Derby by trainer Todd Pletcher a short while later.

The skies were overcast, and temperatures had moderated compared with the bone-chilling cold of last week. The racetrack was listed as fast, but definitely was not as quick as it had been following the renovation break the previous morning.

Monday at Churchill

58 degrees, cloudy, fast

Orb (four furlongs in 47.89 seconds) has had an almost perfect week since arriving from Payson Park, and the karma got even better, if possible, Monday. Orb, with regular exercise rider Jenn Patterson up, once again went in company with stablemate Overwhelming, who had jockey Joel Rosario aboard. Rosario will ride Orb in the Derby.

The team began at the half-mile pole and settled into a nice early rhythm, posting splits of 12.20 seconds and 23.74 through the opening quarter-mile. Orb was widest of the two while turning into the stretch about a head in front. He gradually extended that advantage while continuing to just cruise along under his motionless rider, striding out effortlessly to the wire and beyond.

[KENTUCKY DERBY WORKOUTS: Video analysis, news, and times]

The gallop-out made the work even more special. Orb completed five furlongs to the seven-eighths pole in 1:00.98, with Patterson rising up in the saddle immediately after the finish line, allowing her mount to travel along on his own into and around the turn. This was a true gallop-out, as compared with several others I’ve seen this past week, where the riders continued to offer some encouragement both into and on the bend.

Orb pulled up six furlongs in 1:14.83 in a move similar to, but even more impressive than, the one I witnessed at Payson Park five days prior to his winning effort in the Florida Derby.

Although the phrase “exactly what I was looking for” is too often misused by trainers to describe a horse’s work, in the case of trainer Shug McGaughey’s reaction to Orb’s breeze Monday, it couldn’t sum things up any better.

Oxbow (five furlongs in 59.82), who did not appear very comfortable during a routine one-mile jog Sunday, had been aggressive in both his previous work and earlier gallops this past week, and he was similarly eager under jockey Gary Stevens on Monday. Oxbow was headstrong from the moment he was released from alongside the pony by Lukas near the 5 1/2-furlong pole, and Stevens had his hands full reining him in as best he could through an opening quarter in 23.54.

Oxbow had his head cocked to the inside, which has been the norm this past week, around the bend, and as a result, he bore out five or six paths wide, with Stevens tugging on the left rein, doing his best to keep him in entering the stretch. Oxbow finally came to hand and leveled off near the eighth pole, completing his final quarter in a respectable 24.22, with just mild urging near the wire before galloping out six furlongs in an average 1:14.73.

All in all, this was not a bad work, but that’s an assessment tempered by some concern over Oxbow’s propensity to get out on the turn.

Will Take Charge (five furlongs in 1:00.82), like Oxbow, was full of run coming away from the pole, zipping an opening quarter in an even swifter 23.17 and three-eighths in 35.20. He then had little left through the latter stages of the drill, needing plenty of encouragement to come home his last quarter in a slow 25.62 while also making a “raspy noise” at the wire, according to former jockey Richard Migliore, who was stationed at ground level on the finish line to observe the work.

Will Take Charge shut down rather quickly after passing the wire and did not receive a six-furlong gallop-out time.

Itsmyluckyday and Goldencents picked up the pace during their second day on the track. Itsmyluckyday galloped an easy 1 1/2 miles after simply jogging a mile the previous morning and continues to make a good visual impression. Goldencents went along at a much brisker pace, as is common in the mornings for horses trained by Doug O’Neill, during the latter stages of a jog/gallop session.

Frac Daddy’s final work here Saturday was good but not great, and he continued to show a high energy level with a very strong and visually appealing gallop Monday.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out only two of his five Derby hopefuls to train Monday, with Palace Malice and Charming Kitten galloping after the break, while Revolutionary, Verrazano, and Overanalyze stayed in the barn, which is not uncommon for Pletcher’s horses the second day after a work.

Seaneen Girl was the lone Kentucky Oaks starter to breeze, going an easy half-mile in 48.89, with a final quarter-mile split in 24.60, under jockey Rosie Napravnik well before dawn.

Matthew More than 1 year ago
Lets break down Orb's last two wins. Fountain of youth ran into a suicide pace and JUST got by Violence , who fractured his leg during the race. Florida derby , final time 2 seconds slower than the fillie race the same day beating Shanghai Bobby, who again was injured during race and Itsmyluckyday, coming off a 60 day layoff and can't get 1 and 1/4 . Oh and beat merit man who is a dead sprinter. I love that everyone is on his bandwagon , that will make Verrazano that much better a price.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
Dude, you are in total delusions.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
I would like to congratulate in advance Orb, Joel Rosario, and Shug McGaughey on their victory in the Kentucky Derby. And very likely the Preakness, and Belmont too. There is no other 3 yr old like him. Keep trying to find Mine That Bird to put in an exacta with Giacomo. It has been a long time since you have had a winner so blatantly staring you in the face.
Barkeleyboy More than 1 year ago
I always look for value in the Derby. At 5-1 Orb is stealing.
Nancy More than 1 year ago
At 5-1 Verrazano is straling
Lara Martin More than 1 year ago
OH Great, Sam.. Thank you for just JINXing the horse!! Charlie whittingham wanna be! LOL!
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
I`m sorry. I sure hope I did`nt jinx him!!!!!!! Boy, oh boy is he good though!!!!!!!
lfc1963 More than 1 year ago
I have been reviewing the races that got these guys here.I note that Verrazano has never once been hit with the whip.Is it because he will stop? He has been asked but never tapped.Looks like he will be the favorite.Orb and Verrazano have never raced each other however.I see Orb mowing them all down...Key Orb in your exotics. he will be there for sure.
MT_Black More than 1 year ago
Verrazano has seen the whip.. look again. But your right that he has not been asked for his full run as of yet, Orb on the other hand seems to get one whack coming out of the turn at the top of the stretch and one whack at the 8th pole to switch leads. Then he runs by with long calculated strides. I love Verrazano but Orb looks visually spectacular. Although V is a big horse that is hard to run past, Salty dude. Exacta Box?? yeah me and every other chalk player. I think I will stack up to these two and another selection on a juicy pick 4 ticket. I will take a picture and post it.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
The Kentucky derby is the most overrated grade 1 there is. The outcome is far far more based on post and trip than talent...Giacometti and mine that bird the most recent example
Sir More than 1 year ago
And don't forget Giacomo, too.
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
People talk like Mine That Bird never did anything before or after the Derby. He was champion 2yo in Canada, just as Sunny's Halo and Northern Dancer were. He was getting to Rachel (2nd, on her flank) in the Preakness. And IMHO, he would have won the Belmont had Borel been more familiar with the track and not moved so early. As it was, he came third and not a distant third. After that they gave him to Lukas and that put paid to his career.
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
Maybe it is just because he is my namesake but minethatbird wasn't that bad. Agree with you completely Ann. Not many horses have come in 1st 2nd 3rd in the triple crown. He was mismanaged that is all.
Sol Rivera More than 1 year ago
Vince, my guess is that your butt is jealous of the poop that comes out of your mouth.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Mismanaged by ownership, should never been taken away from Chip Wooley, NEVER !
MT_Black More than 1 year ago
Billy boy, I know Bennie Chip Wooley and he will never sniff another grade 1 race. Dude cant even get an $8000 claimer home in Albuquerque. C'mon man Lukas is a legend and actually knew what to do with that lucky loser....stop racing him. Seriously dude Mine That Bird is a horse for old old ladies to bet on. They say "can I still bet on the bird horse?" and I stand in line while the teller explains that that "the bird horse is not running" Get off of Wooley's nuts bro dude is not even a 9% trainer in NM.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
MT , you cant say Chip didn"t do right by that horse. Made more money with that horse than DWL could have. I know Chip isn"t no DWL but neither is DWL no Chip Wooley. DWL drilled that little horse when all they had to do was listen to Mine that Bird. You tell me , a 1rst, 2nd and a 3rd in TC races aren"t all that bad are they ?
Michael More than 1 year ago
You all are overanalizing things....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From what has been seen, who has the most Heart & Guts so far, even if he doesn't WIN, I see that from Revolutionary and Verrazano has never given up the lead once he has had it. That will be interesting as well to watch, I think at some point Verrazano will have the lead but will he keep it and if not will he get it back??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Falling Sky in front, then goldencents and Verrazano and itsmyluckyday together in tandem with Vyjack a little behind then Palice Malice Oxbow,Overanylize,Normandy Invasion, Orb,Lines of Battle,WTC then with mylute,Golden Soul, Frac Daddy,Charming Kitten, Black Onyx,Fear the Kitten and then Revolutionary and Java's War talking to each other in the back until they move, Who turns for home with power and something left in the basement we'll see Heart and Guts.............
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
That would be FRAC DADDY at a big , big price , as Tom Durkin would say ....
jay More than 1 year ago
Black Onyx will win the triple crown...if not this year, then next year.
Daniel Garcia More than 1 year ago
Sir More than 1 year ago
Or maybe the year after. Why stop at next year?
phil bailey More than 1 year ago
you are all wrong, he will win the triple crown in 2016...Take that to the bank...LMAO, Maybe Burger King will give him his crown too.
Hammertime More than 1 year ago
I'll be even bolder and say that he sweeps the triple crown BOTH this year and next year.
Eli Dawkins More than 1 year ago
I still believe N I will win the Derby.Orb is gonna be tough very tough and Revolutionary will run the race of his life.Good luck to all
Sol Rivera More than 1 year ago
Normandy Invasion is ONLY a maiden winner. When was the last time a Maiden winner won The Kentucky Derby Presented by YUM! Brands?
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
Ha you must be a lawyer. Plus 1 for the wording. As you probably know 3 horses have broke their maiden in the Derby but that was a long time ago before yum brands.
phil bailey More than 1 year ago
I hear what you are saying as a statistic. Although he fits in the KD as he was getting to Verrazano late in a fast pace. The same as he did against Overanalyze as a 2 year old. Toss the Risen Star out due to a horrible start in which he still managed 5th, only 3 lengths back. He went from maiden right into the sharks. No allowance races to get easy wins from. From a handicappers view. How does he look if he gets pace to run at and at a longer distance....hmmmmm?
Sol Rivera More than 1 year ago
phil bailey, phil bailey, Before you put ALL your eggs in the NI basket, make it a point to watch ALL of Verrazanos previous races. One thing that is very rare, is a horse that comes into the Derby not only undefeated but one that has never felt the whip. This horse has NEVER been tested. Add to that the wet track that awaits them. This horse has the Animal Kingdom like athleticism to place himself anywhere he needs to be turning for home He also happens to be the oldest horse in the field. If the closing, longer distance type is what you like then you might look at Charming Kitten. He has been screaming for a longer distance, is always passing horses, has a steady Beyer progression, Oh, and his owners have won more races than anybody in the Galaxy in the last 30 days. Verrazano will give his Trainer and Jockey their second Kentucky Derby Presented by YUM! Brands victory in four years.
B More than 1 year ago
At the moment, that is my exacta, though I won't make much should it happen.
Neil More than 1 year ago
Remember when people thought Big Brown needed the lead? For some reason people think Verrazano also has to be right on the lead. I see him getting the same trip as Big Brown, outside and sitting off of it, but that also depends on what post he gets. Anything outside of 8 would be a plus. Also not sure why people think a horse who hasn't really been asked for his best will be fading at the 1/8 pole. Curious as to the thought process behind that?? Glad to hear all the favoritism talk on Orb.