Racing News

Orb scheduled for Florida Derby breeze

  • Orb will stick to a Monday work pattern (Adam Coglianese Photography)

Stuart Janney III's Kentucky homebred Orb will breeze Monday morning at Payson Park for trainer Shug McGaughey in his next-to-last scheduled workout ahead of the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 30.

"He'll work Monday and then blowout a little bit the next Monday," McGaughey said.

The bay son of Malibu Moon ran into the Florida Derby picture, and onto the Kentucky Derby Trail, with three consecutive victories, the last two of which came at Gulfstream while training all winter with McGaughey's Payson Park-based division.

Orb broke his maiden going a mile at Aqueduct on November 24 and then won a 1 1/8-mile allowance over the Gulfstream track on January 26. Turning back in distance a sixteenth of a mile for the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on February 23, he rallied to score by a half-length over heavily-favored and previously unbeaten Violence.

Later on the same day Orb was taking that Gulfstream allowance, Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby finished one-two, respectively, in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. The trio will all meet up in the Florida Derby as they are part of the roster of 111 sophomores nominated to the nine-furlong contest.

Eddie Plesa Jr. and Todd Pletcher, the respective trainers of Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby, each passed on running their charges in the Fountain of Youth and instead chose to train the colts up to a highly-anticipated rematch in the 62nd edition of Gullfstream's historic Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown preview.

Just as Orb handed Violence his first defeat in the Fountain of Youth, Itsmyluckyday did the same to juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby when pulling out the two-length win in the Holy Bull. While Shanghai Bobby was making his first start since taking the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November at Santa Anita, Itsmyluckyday was exiting a romping 6 3/4-length victory in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Derby.

Another confirmed Florida Derby prospect is Frac Daddy, second by a neck in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in late November for trainer Ken McPeek.

The son of Scat Daddy disappointed when a well-beaten sixth in the Holy Bull, but grabbed a quarter rather badly in the race and was later found to have been suffering from a throat ulcer.