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Top News in Sunday's TDN
Orb Strikes in the Florida Derby
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12th at GPXGI Florida Derby  [1 1/8m]Winner: Orb, c, 3 by Malibu Moon
Saturday, Gulfstream Park
BESILU STABLES FLORIDA DERBY-GI, $1,000,000, GPX, 3-30, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:50 4/5, ft.
1--ORB, 122, c, 3, by Malibu Moon
1st Dam: Lady Liberty, by Unbridled
2nd Dam: Mesabi Maiden, by Cox's Ridge
3rd Dam: Steel Maiden, by Damascus
O/B-Stuart S Janney III LLC & Phipps Stable (KY); T-Claude R McGaughey III; J-John R Velazquez. $600,000. Lifetime Record: 7-4-0-1, $921,050. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.

2--Itsmyluckyday, 122, c, 3, Lawyer Ron--Viva La Slew, by Doneraile Court. ($47,000 yrl '11 KEESEP; $110,000 2yo ‘12 OBSMAR). O-Trilogy Stable & Laurie Plesa; B-Liberation Farm & Brandywine Farm (KY); T-Edward Plesa Jr. $200,000.

3--Merit Man, 122, c, 3, With Distinction--Precise Strike, by Precise End. ($2,200 wlng '10 OBSOCT; $75,000 2yo ‘12 OBSAPR). O-Bruce Chandler, Robert McKee & James Glavin; B-Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds & Stephen Barberino (FL); T-Robert B Hess Jr. $100,000.

Margins: 2 3/4, 2 1/4, 5. Odds: 2.90, 1.70, 29.10.
Also Ran: Narvaez, Shanghai Bobby, Pick of the Litter, Frac Daddy, Are You Kidding Me, Indy's Illusion, Pontiff.

A Work in Progress...
   A debut third behind future GISW Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) in a seven-furlong Saratoga maiden Aug. 18, Orb was not on his best behavior when a distant fourth in a mile maiden at Belmont Sept. 8. Fourth behind Vyjack (Into Mischief) and Clawback (Put It Back) sprinting at Aqueduct Nov. 10, the homebred put it all together in career start number four, defeating Revolutionary (War Pass) into third Nov. 24, then headed south for the winter. The attractive bay got his sophomore season off on a positive note, annexing a first-level Gulfstream allowance Jan. 26, and would have run back in another allowance spot had something been available. There was nothing for him in allowance company, so he was entered instead in the Fountain of Youth Feb. 23 and capitalized on a fast pace to sweep past the now-retired Violence for a half-length success.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO.

Another Extra-Orb-inary Performance...
   With the Derby berth already in the bag, it awaited to be seen just how much would be asked of Orb in a race he did not need to win. As it turned out, he proved too tough for his foes. Noticeably warm in the preliminaries, Orb broke well, but settled in midfield, considerably closer to the pace than he has been, as Merit Man (With Distinction) cleared and crossed the field from the eight hole. Narvaez (Holy Bull) pressed from the outside, while Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) fired up at the fence with Itsmyluckyday lapped to his outside. All riders were happy with their positions down the backstretch, though Orb was niggled at just a bit by John Velazquez and began to find his best stride rounding the turn. Elvis Trujillo sense company rolling up to his outside and gave Itsmylucky day some more rein and they led going reasonably well into the lane. But Orb would not go away, grabbed the chalk at the furlong grounds and edged clear. Merit Man ran meritoriously in third. "He trained fairly sharp and I told my son in the paddock, ‘I wouldn't be surprised if he breaks OK and he won't be as far back,’" McGaughey explained. "Now I didn't know they were going to go 24 and change either. So I wasn't too surprised where he was. The one thing you don't know is if it will take away from the run or not and, obviously, it didn't." Shanghai Bobby was buried on the inside for the opening seven furlongs. "He seemed to be in a tough spot all the way around," trainer Todd Pletcher said.

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Taylor Made Farm

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