If the Kentucky Derby was a coming-out party for Orb, the fabulously talented winner of five consecutive races, it was also an unveiling for his rider, Joel Rosario, who in the space of just a few months has come to be recognized as the best jockey in North America.
The Kentucky Derby is the great equalizer. Sometimes the little guy wins – think Funny Cide or Mine That Bird – and sometimes the big guys get the prize. On Saturday at rainy Churchill Downs, a burgeoning star named Orb, owned by a pair of the sport's most prominent horsemen, handled by a Hall of Fame trainer, and ridden by the nation's leading jockey, splashed to a resounding and popular Derby victory.
“Sometimes I pinch myself and say, ‘Why does this happen to me?’ ” said McGaughey, noting how many talented horsemen never had the same opportunities that he has had. “When I got to really rolling, I remember many a day after we’d won a big race in New York, I’d be leaving and I’d think, ‘How lucky am I? Why is this happening to me?’ ”