Orb is officially one-third of the way to capturing the coveted Triple Crown after overcoming a sloppy track and impressive field to win the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Orb and his jockey Joel Rosario rode an amazing race on Saturday on their way to capturing the first leg of the ever-elusive Triple Crown, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Orb and Rosario are a strong combination, but they aren't a pair that can take the Triple Crown.
Not to take anything away from Orb and Rosario, but there is a reason no horse has captured the Triple Crown since 1978; it's hard. Winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont is meant to be difficult, especially this year with the adverse weather conditions in Kentucky.
Now, after a very difficult and muddy race, Orb and Rosario will have to show the sprinting speed necessary to win the Preakness and the endurance to take on Belmont.
During the Kentucky Derby Orb turned on the after-burners on the home stretch and came from behind to overtake the rest of the field by a couple lengths. In fact, he was behind by as far as 17th place after six furlongs. This wasn't the first time that Orb came from behind to win. In the Fountain of Youth Stakes Orb had to make a late sprint after falling to the back of the group in the early going.
The same can be said of a few of Orb's other races.
Orb's pedigree, which is essentially a "who's who" of great racing horses throughout history, is full of great endurance horses, which bodes well for Orb in the Belmont Stakes. If he can get past the Preakness, that is.
The Preakness is where Orb may run into trouble if he continues to start off a bit slower than the field. Orb had to turn it on late during the home stretch of the Kentucky Derby to take the lead and sprint by the competition. If he has to resort to the same tactics in the Preakness, it might be too late by the time he turns on the gas.
While Orb certainly has the raw talent and power to get the job done, there's one more thing that we have to keep in mind. Horses get hurt. As tragic as it may be, injuries have stalled out many a great racing career, most recently I'll Have Another, who wasn't able to compete in the Belmont Stakes due to an injury last year after winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Orb and Rosario are a dangerous pair and definitely have the skills to get the job done and capture the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978, but they'll have to run absolutely perfect races, avoid injury and keep in mind that one tiny imperfection can put them out of a race and out of a shot at the coveted Triple Crown.
The Kentucky Derby winning duo will take the track for the Preakness on May 18.