Orb overcomes muck to win Derby

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Way back in the pack heading into the final turn, Orb was calm even if his jockey wasn’t.

Churning through a sloppy track that resembled creamy peanut butter, the bay colt picked up speed and, one by one, blew past rivals.

By that time, jockey Joel Rosario knew he was aboard the Kentucky Derby winner.

Orb powered to a 2½-length victory Saturday at Churchill Downs, giving trainer Shug McGaughey and Rosario their first Derby wins.

“I was so far behind,” Rosario said. “He was very relaxed. It’s exactly what I wanted.”

Rosario had Orb in the clear on the outside and they forged to the lead in deep stretch, with enough momentum to hold off 34-1 shot Golden Soul.

It was a popular victory before a crowd of 151,616, which poured enough late money on Orb to make him the 5-1 favorite, a position Revolutionary had owned most of the day.

McGaughey, a 62-year-old native of Lexington, finally got the Derby win he had long sought. Orb was just his second starter since 1989, when he settled for second after Sunday Silence beat Easy Goer on a muddy track.

“It means everything to me,” the Hall of Famer said. “I’ve always dreamed of this day and it finally came.”

The race was dominated by closers. Golden Soul rallied from 15th to second, while Revolutionary was 18th at one point and finished third for trainer Todd Pletcher. Normandy Invasion finished fourth.

Orb paid $12.80, $7.40 and $5.40. Golden Soul returned $38.60 and $19.40, while Revolutionary paid $5.40 to show.

Mylute was fifth, followed by Oxbow, Lines of Battle, Will Take Charge and Charming Kitten. Giant Finish was 10th, then came Overanalyze, Palace Malice, Java’s War, Verrazano, Itsmyluckyday, Frac Daddy, Goldencents, Vyjack and Falling Sky.

The second leg of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown will be May 18 when the Preakness Stakes is held at Pimlico.

The rain that pelted the track earlier in the day had stopped by the time 19 horses paraded to the post for the 139th Derby. While it created a gloppy surface, it didn’t seem to bother Orb, who had never previously run on a wet track.

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