Racing News

McGaughey delighted by Orb's progress

  • Orb has come a long way since arriving in his winter quarters (Adam Coglianese Photography)

Trainer Shug McGaughey reported Sunday that Orb exited his stretch-running victory in Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in good order.

"He came back fine. He's at Payson Park -- that's where he lives," McGaughey said. "I was with him when he got on the van (Saturday) night, and he was fine. And they tell me he's fine today."

Orb, who had won an entry-level allowance race at Gulfstream on January 26, rallied from seventh under John Velazquez to capture his stakes debut with a half-length triumph over previously undefeated Violence, the 3-5 favorite.

"It was great. We got a good pace, but for him to be able to catch up from where he was over this kind of track, twice, is saying a whole lot," said McGaughey, who trains the three-year-old son of Malibu Moon for breeders Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable.

Orb earned 50 points in Churchill Downs' new points-based qualifying system for the Kentucky Derby, which is expected to assure the rapidly-developing colt a spot in the 20-horse field for the Run for the Roses.

"He's come so far over the winter," said McGaughey, whose colt was sent to post Saturday as the 5-1 second choice. "My people have done a great job with him. If he keeps improving, maybe he'll be something."

McGaughey said a decision on where and when the colt would run again would be made upon the return of Janney from New Zealand next week.

The Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream on March 30 is a strong option.

"I would never have thought when I brought him down here that he'd be where he is today," McGaughey said. "He just kind of grew up."

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