Kentucky Derby 2013 Winner: Orb Is a Threat for the Triple Crown

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 5, 2013

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 Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

A horse hasn't won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. That's why it's hard to get too excited about a horse after winning the Kentucky Derby.

But after Orb's victory at Churchill Downs on Saturday, one thing's for sure: The horse has the potential to win the Triple Crown.

Orb won his fifth straight start on Saturday with a time of  2:02.89. Not only did he display impressive speed and endurance, he showed the kind of composure and finishing ability that make him a legitimate contender for the Triple Crown.

Orb actually was nudged at the gate as the Derby kicked off on Saturday. He was among the last horses in the pack for at least half of the race. 

But the colt came roaring back down the stretch, blasting past early leader Palace Malice and the rest of the competition before winning the Derby by two-and-a-half lengths.

Young jockey Joel Rosario came away impressed with Orb's composure and patience.

Rosario said via USA Today Sports: "I was so far behind. I just let him be calm and relaxed, and he was able to do it. He was very relaxed and did exactly what I wanted. It was a perfect trip."

Orb's pedigree is also noteworthy. His dam, Lady Liberty, comes from 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. His sire, Malibu Moon, has sired several notable horses, including 2004 Derby champion Declan's Moon, Life at Ten, Devil May Care, Ask the Moon, Funny Moon and the speedy Kauai Katie.

Orb is a well-rounded horse, making him a legit contender for the Triple Crown. He has the speed to succeed at the Preakness Stakes and the endurance to succeed at the Belmont Stakes. On top of that, he has an eye-opening calm to him, which allowed him to make up for a bad start at the Derby on Saturday. A lot of horses would have mentally bowed out after a rough start like that.

I will say that the bad start on Saturday was a bit concerning, considering a rocky start in a race is nothing new for Orb. But the fact of the matter is that Orb has gotten the job done in his past five races despite some early troubles.

It's easy to doubt a horse's chances of capturing the Triple Crown these days, but there's no denying Orb has the combination of speed, endurance, composure, pedigree and momentum to make history this year.

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