Orb made one miraculous burst down the stretch to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
Because of that effort, Orb is now positioned quite well for a strong run at the Triple Crown.
Churchill Downs is the first leg and that may turn out as the most difficult for this season. Not only is the length a challenge, but the track surface was less than perfect and a bolting performance as the race ended displayed Orb's potential in a nutshell.
In addition, the victory was by a solid length and jockey Joel Rosario orchestrated a perfect race.
Rosario's experience will continue to pay extreme dividends and Orb brings the pedigree to keep with the pack early. Thereafter, he'll kick in that final gear and chase every else, including the Triple Crown.
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports! also feels confident about Orb's chances, as he wrote on Saturday:
He has the look of a Triple Crown winner. His general appearance and workouts at Churchill produced more pre-Derby superlatives than any other horse I've seen in my 26 years covering the race.
He backed it up in the slop Saturday. If Orb comes out of this race in good condition, he figures to be a prohibitive favorite in the Preakness in two weeks.
The Preakness Stakes will be an interesting challenge, though. As a race that is shorter than Kentucky, Orb won't have nearly the luxury of distance to make up down the stretch.
So to counteract the course length, expect Rosario to make a faster jump out of the gates. The stamina was proven during the derby, but Pimlico will bring out the acceleration and top speed.
Brief history is also on Orb's side. I'll Have Another won the first two legs last year. Even better, Orb won at Churchill Downs by a much greater degree.
So, a victory at Pimlico and the first horse racing hat-trick since 1978 will occur thereafter.
The Belmont Stakes is a longer race than Churchill Downs, which is to Orb's advantage. At 12 furlongs, Rosario can choose to set the pace or lurk back until the last turn.
With more time to catch up, Orb's overall capabilities fly past the competition en route to horse racing immorality.
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|