Hall of Fame trainer Claude "Shug" McGaughey, III won his first Kentucky Derby when jockey Joel Rosario guided Orb, a son of Malibu Moon, across a sloppy track to victory in the Grade 1 $2,000,000 Kentucky Derby before a soggy crowd of 151,616. As the gates opened, Orb was the betting favorite at odds just under 6-1.
"It's awesome," said Rosario who got the mount when regular rider John Velazquez chose to ride the previously undefeated Verrazano in the Derby. "I won the $10 million Dubai World Cup (with Animal Kingdom) and to win the Derby now it's like a dream. I am so happy for Shug McGaughey. I feel awesome. I was so far behind, I just let him be calm and relaxed and he was available to do it."
McGaughey has sent out six Kentucky Derby starters, most recently in 2002, with his best finish coming in a second place finish by Easer Goer in 1989. In the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby when asked about his absence in recent years, McGaughey said that he didn't want to go to the Derby unless he felt he had a horse good enough to win it. Orb proved he was good enough when overtaking Itsmyluckyday to win the Grade 1 Florida Derby and when he took victory from runner-up Violence in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.
"He had a great workout here on Monday and he was terrific in the paddock today and post parade and going in the gate," said McGaughey. "So when they swung the latch, I thought to myself, just enjoy the race. If it works, it works, if it doesn't, it doesn't. Luckily, it did work today."
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