The 139th running of the Kentucky Derby shaped up to be one of the biggest races in recent memory, and it didn't disappoint, leaving us with some storylines to follow throughout the rest of the year.
While Orb's come-from-behind victory stole the show at Churchill Downs, that was far from the only intriguing event to unfold as some of the world's best thoroughbreds competed for the Run for the Roses.
Let's jump in to the biggest storylines that came from the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
Is Orb the Missing Piece to the Triple Crown Puzzle?
It never disappoints. Every year, the winner of the Kentucky Derby is smothered with questions and expectations about the possibility of winning the elusive Triple Crown. The problem is, those expectations have been all for nothing in every year since 1978, when Affirmed took all three legs in stunning fashion.
But could this be the year that the sport finally gets the monkey off its back? Does Orb have what it takes to rekindle his Derby magic at the Preakness and Belmont Stakes?
Only time will tell, but it certainly looks promising so far for the three-year-old colt. He's responding incredibly to his trainer, Claude "Shug" McGaughey, and jockey Joel Rosario is the hottest rider on the planet.
In 2012, I'll Have Another won the Triple Crown's first two legs in a similar fashion to Orb's Derby victory. Perhaps that's a fortunate sign for the Phipps family.
Or maybe it's just a bunch of hype that we're obligated to have after each Run for the Roses.
Hype Surrounding Goldencents Doesn't Pay Off
Going into the race, Goldencents was undoubtedly the most talked-about contender in the field. With connections to Louisville coach Rick Pitino and a chance for trainer Doug O'Neill to win his second straight Derby, hopes were high.
On top of that, jockey Kevin Krigger was aiming to become the first African American jockey to win the sport's most prized event.
It didn't pay off, though. After a strong start and being in position to make a late run, Goldencents faded down the stretch and finished 17th out of 19 horses.
Horse racing is as unpredictable as they come, and that was more true than ever this year with a heap of real contenders. But you have to wonder with Goldecents' no-show Saturday if the hype was way too much for what he was capable of.
Pletcher Goes 0-for-5, McGaughey 1-for-1
Representing 26.3 percent of the field and with two of the favorites, trainer Todd Pletcher likely felt pretty good about one of his horses reaching the winners' circle.
However, Orb's victory meant Pletcher struck out with his heap of contenders.
Four of Pletcher's five horses finished outside of the top eight, with the lone exception being third-place Revolutionary. Other than Revolutionary, who was one of the race-day favorites and who ran brilliantly, Pletcher's horses laid an egg on the race track Saturday in a big way. The trainer is now 1-for-36 at the Derby.
It raises the question of whether stockpiling horses is as effective as putting all of your focus on one contender. Compared to Orb trainer McGaughey's style of focusing on one thoroughbred and doing what's best for that horse, Pletcher's strategy doesn't seem so appealing.
I'm not saying Pletcher isn't a world-renowned trainer. You don't get five horses into the Kentucky Derby without being world-class at your profession. But there's a difference between "getting there" and "winning there," and that's where Pletcher and McGaughey differ.
Here is a look at the final standings, courtesy of KentuckyDerby.com.
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario||Claude R. McGaughey III||16|
|2||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||4|
|3||Revolutionary||Calvin Borel||Todd Pletcher||3|
|4||Normandy Invasion||Javier Castellano||Chad Brown||5|
|5||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||6|
|6||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||2|
|7||Lines of Battle||Ryan Moore||Aidan O'Brien||11|
|8||Will Take Charge||Jon Court||D. Wayne Lukas||17|
|9||Charming Kitten||Edgar Prado||Todd Pletcher||15|
|10||Giant Finish||Jose L. Espinoza||Anthony W. Dutrow||7|
|11||Overanalyze||Rafael Bejarano||Todd Pletcher||9|
|12||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||10|
|13||Java's War||Julien Leparoux||Kenny McPeek||19|
|14||Verrazano||John R. Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||14|
|15||Itsmyluckyday||Elvis Trujillo||Eddie Plesa, Jr.||12|
|16||Frac Daddy||Victor Lebron||Kenny McPeek||18|
|17||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||8|
|18||Vyjack||Garrett Gomez||Rudy Rodriguez||20|
|19||Falling Sky||Luis Saez||John Terranova II||13|
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