Orb Wins 139th Kentucky Derby With Late Rally

6:35 PM, May 4, 2013   |    comments
  • LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Joel Rosario atop Orb reacts after winning the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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  • LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Joel Rosario atop Orb reacts after winning the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    
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LOUISVILLE -- Orb gave Shug McGaughey -- native Kentuckian, Hall of Fame trainer and sentimental favorite in his home state -- his first victory in the Kentucky Derby when he raced to victory Saturday in the rain-soaked 139th running of the Triple Crown opener in "sloppy" conditions at Churchill Downs.

McGaughey had been 0-6 in Derby starts. But Orb, whose named was inspired by his father, Malibu Moon, earned the blanket of roses when he bested runner-up Golden Soul with a rally down the stretch.

"Means everything to me. I've always dreamed of this day and it finally came. Thrilled for the people who put in so much time on this horse, and of course I'm thrillerd for me." McGaughey said.

 

It was the the fifth straight win for Orb, who opened as the morning line favorite earlier this week and went off at the 6-1 co-favorite with Revolutionary, who finished third.

 

Joel Rosario was the winning rider aboard Orb.

"It's like a dream come true." Rosario said.

The Derby had a maximum 20-horse field, but it was reduced to 19 Friday morning when Black Onyx, 50-1 on the morning line, was scratched due to a chipped bone in his front left ankle. Black Onyx had been in the No.1 position in the starting gate, which was left open for the Derby.

The scratch came too late for alternate Fear the Kitten to get into the race. Fear the Kitten had been 21st in the new point standings used to determine this year's qualifiers. The deadline for him to get in the race was 9 a.m. Friday.

Rain fell steadily Saturday afternoon during the undercard. The downpour had many women scrambling to cover their fancy Kentucky Derby hats with plastic. But some younger fans body-surfed on the muddy infield.

The race was run 40 years after the historic 1973 win by Secretariat in a record winning time of 1:59 2/5.

The Triple Crown series now moves on to the May 18 Preakness in Baltimore, followed by the June 9 Belmont Stakes in New York. No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.

Among the many celebrities in attendance were quarterback Robert Griffin III of the NFL's Washington Redskins, former NBA stars Scottie Pippen and Julius "Dr. J." Irving, former major league baseball player Ken Griffey Jr., former NFL quarterback Warren Moon, entertainer Joey Fatone (N Sync) and actress Jane Seymour.

Fans, employees and media entering Churchill Downs were subject to increased security in the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. New measures included bans on coolers and large purses.

 

USA TODAY

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