Kentucky Derby 2013: Biggest Takeaways from 139th Run for the Roses

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IMay 5, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04:  The field of horses runs up the front stretch after the start of the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2013 Kentucky Derby saw its share of both projected finishes and surprises from Churchill Downs, as the favorite Orb finished first in the 139th Run for the Roses while long shot Golden Soul placed second.

With so many storylines to follow at the derby—including information and updates on trainers, owners, jockeys and the horse itself—there's always a slew of takeaways from the Kentucky Derby.

So what stood out most from the 2013 Run for the Roses?

Take a look.


Todd Pletcher is Overrated

This is no disrespect to Todd Pletcher, but in the weeks leading up to the derby, all of the coverage surrounded Pletcher's training skills, and the fact that he had five horses running in the derby and would definitely be leaving Churchill Downs a winner.

Pletcher's best finish came from Revolutionary, who placed third, but aside from that it's been a difficult running in the Kentucky Derby for Pletcher, as ESPN Stats & Info made note of prior to the 2013 running.

Pletcher may have won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver and led all trainers in the amount of money won in 2011 (via, but his horses haven't been nearly as successful when running in the Kentucky Derby.

Only one of Pletcher's five horses finished in the top five, as Pletcher's next-best horse (Charming Kitten) finished ninth in 2013.


Prior Derby Experience Isn't a Must

They say there's a first for everything, and that statement is certainly true for Orb jockey Joel Rosario.

Riding in just his second Kentucky Derby ever, Rosario jockeyed Orb to a Derby victory for trainer Claude R. "Shug" McGaughey III, and owners Stuart Janney and Dinny Phipps. According to the Twitter account that covers horse racing for, Shug approves of Rosario's riding skills.

According to, Rosario received his jockey license at the young age of 14, and although he had 38 wins in 2013 and appears to be a well-respected rider, his lack of experience in the Kentucky Derby may have worried some—I know it didn't sit too well with me.

Nonetheless, Orb's two first-place finishes in the races leading up to the 2013 Kentucky Derby should have been enough evidence to outweigh the lack of derby experience for Rosario.


You Shouldn't Always Buy into Favorites

Orb proved to be a wise bet as the overall consensus favorite in the 2013 Kentucky Derby, but other favorites didn't fare so well.

Verrazano, who the guys at the Daily Racing Forum ranked as the second-best horse in the running, placed a dismal 14th, while another favorite, Itsmyluckyday, finished 15th.

The 139th Run for the Roses saw a long shot take center stage as well, as Golden Soul, who went off at 34-1 (via, finished second on Saturday.

Since horses don't run as much as they used to, we don't have as much evidence to base our odds and projections off of, which is why betting on horses isn't an exact science. There's absolutely nothing wrong with putting your money on a long shot or non-favorite, as Golden Soul showed this year.

There were plenty of ups and downs at the Derby on Saturday, but these are the three that stood out to me the most.


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