Orb's success in the 2013 Kentucky Derby has the horse racing world dreaming once more of a possible Triple Crown champion, which would be first since Affirmed in 1978.
With a stirring run from the back of the field, Orb was able to comfortably win the 139th Run for the Roses and cement himself as one of the top horses to watch this year but also emerge as a potential candidate for the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes) in 2013.
I'll Have Another won both the Derby and Preakness last year before withdrawing from the Belmont Stakes, continuing on the 35-year Triple Crown winless streak.
Yet with Orb in fine form, and a rich pedigree behind him, this could well be the year we see a Triple Crown champion in full flight.
Obviously, his chances at the Triple Crown will start and end with the success that he has at the Preakness Stakes, scheduled for May 18 at the Pimlico Race Course.
And despite there being several differences between the Preakness and Kentucky Derby, there's no doubting that Orb is primed for further success at the Maryland course this year given his strong pedigree and form.
Orb, coming out of the Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, showed that he was perfect for the 1 1/4-mile course at Churchill Downs. That was to be expected given his sire, Malibu Moon, and the success that he has produced over 1 1/4 miles, but it was still a strong showing nonetheless for Orb.
Lady Liberty—his dam—also likely gave him plenty of stamina and endurance, which no doubt helped him on the wet track and coming from the back of the field.
And whilst both of those might not seem like they will best suit the Preakness course, the reality is that in Orb, that pedigree will once again produce great success.
Preakness is a shorter course than Churchill Downs, so Orb will need to race harder than he did here. His stamina and ability to maintain his run down the straight will therefore play a key role as horses are unlikely to wane late like they did in the Derby—especially on a better track.
The Pimlico course also maintains a shorter straight than that of the Kentucky Derby course, which means that Orb must time his run to perfection on the day—something that Malibu Moon produced in current sprint star Kauai Katie. Given Orb's direct relation to Kauai Katie, that should place him in good stead come sprint time at Preakness, where he will look to unleash another strong run on the day.
Yet at the end of the day, the most noticeable thing about Orb's pedigree is success. He has a champion pedigree and it's showing with his results on the track.
Unbridled was a champion who then produced Lady Liberty along with Mesabi Maiden, who has been a multiple Group I winner. Declan's Moon too has direct links to Orb through Malibu Moon, with the likes of Banshee Breeze, Anees, Halfbridled and Smuggler also holding links to the 2013 derby winner.
Orb is a champion through and through and he proved that with his run at the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Now he'll look to do the same at the Preakness Stakes, and giving the rich bloodline behind him, it wouldn't be at all a surprise to see him chalk up another impressive victory.
All details provided via Kentucky Derby.com.
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