Orb's Unique Background Makes Him Legitimate Triple Crown Candidate

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVMay 4, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04:  Jockey 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)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After every running of the Kentucky Derby, the winner is immediately pushed with lofty expectations of winning the sport's first Triple Crown since 1978—and usually for no good reason. 

This year, there are endless reasons why Orb may very well be the thoroughbred to break that long, exhaustive drought. And as with the greatest stories, it starts at the beginning.

Orb's owners-breeders, Ogden "Dinny" Phipps and Stuart S. Janney III, are known for doing things the old-fashioned way in the world of horse racing. That mantra rubbed off on trainer Claude "Shug" McGaughey. 

Instead of raising up their horses with one goal in mind, Phipps, Janney and McGaughey focus more on the big picture and making sure their racehorses are developing and improving to the best of their abilities.

Trainers like Todd Pletcher are picked out by owners to get their horses to Churchill Downs for the nationally renowned race, instead of making the focus on the horse and his capabilities. 

Look at how it paid off for McGaughey and Pletcher, respectively. Pletcher brought five horses into the race and came away with peanuts. McGaughey, on the other hand, won his first Kentucky Derby.

Today's world of horse racing focuses solely on the result, and for good reason. The legacy of these horses, trainers, owners and jockeys relies on the results.

But sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best way.

The Phipps family has been a staple in the sport for generations, so it's not like their appearance in the winner's circle comes as a shock to anyone. Instead, it's further recognition that experience pays dividends.

It also didn't hurt that they went with an up-and-comer at jockey instead of a more seasoned veteran. By picking 28-year-old Joel Rosario, they took a bit of a gamble, but it paid off. 

Rosario has become one of the best jockeys in the world despite his young age, and Orb's victory Saturday is only further proof of his elite skill.

But when it comes down to it, it's the unique background that Orb comes from that helped breed a muddy victory at the 139th Kentucky Derby. 


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