Orb wins 139th Kentucky Derby
Orb powered through on the home stretch to win the 139th Kentucky Derby, giving Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first winner in the $2 million Run for the Roses.
Red-hot Joel Rosario piloted Orb to the victory in the 1 1/4-mile race on a muddy track at Churchill Downs ahead of longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary.
Rosario, who rode Animal Kingdom to victory in the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March, followed up that international triumph with a superbly patient victory in America's most celebrated race.
He let Orb settle back in the field as Palace Malice set a blazing early pace, saving ground around the first turn to have plenty in reserve for a dominant stretch run.
"This guy today, it was all him," Rosario said, patting his mud-splattered mount. "I was so far behind and I just let him be calm and let him be relaxed and he was available to do it all."
Sent off as the 5-1 favorite, Orb surged past Normandy Invasion in the final straight and held off 34-1 shot Golden Soul to win by 2 1/2 lengths.
"It's awesome," Rosario said. "I won the $10 million Dubai World Cup, and to win the Derby now it's like a dream. I'm so happy for Shug McGaughey."
McGaughey, a Kentuckian, had never managed to get to the winner's circle at the Kentucky Derby in six prior attempts.
"It means everything to me," he said. "I always dreamed of this day."
Revolutionary, ridden by popular Calvin Borel and one of five horses in the field of 19 trained by Todd Pletcher, was third at 6-1. He was a length behind Golden Soul, and just a head in front of fading Normandy Invasion.
It was a fifth straight victory for Orb, winner of the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth Stakes in his two prior starts.
With the win, Orb gains a chance to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to capture US flat racing's Triple Crown of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Only 11 horses have completed the coveted treble.
Goldencents, part-owned by coach Rick Pitino of national collegiate basketball champions Louisville, finished 17th.
The colt's jockey, Kevin Krigger, had been vying to become the first black rider to win the race since 1902.
Rosie Napravnik was also denied a history-making win, although her fifth-placed finish aboard Mylute was the highest in the race by a woman rider as she improved on her own ninth-placed finish in 2011 aboard Pants On Fire.
Steady rain pelted Churchill Downs for much of the day, making for a sloppy dirt track even though it had tapered off by post time.
The weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm of more than 100,000 spectators, nor did the extra security measures put in force in the wake of the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon last month.
Churchill Downs urged specatators to be aware of "unusual or suspicious" behavior amid the party atmosphere that rules the infield, and also revised their list of banned items to include refreshment coolers, large bags and metal drink cans.