Kentucky Derby winner Orb puts an extremely impressive work Monday at Belmont Park, before going to Pimlico for Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
***Steve Andress and Rick Bozich will be at the Preakness, with coverage starting Thursday on WDRB News at 10***
ELMONT, NY --- Kentucky Derby winner Orb put in his final workout before the Preakness at Belmont Park Monday, and trainer Shug McGaughey did not mince words with how impressive he thought the breeze was.
Orb went four furlongs alone in a blistering time of 47.18 seconds. He galloped out five furlongs in 59.60 and six in 1:13.00. For those not familiar with horse racing workout times, that is fast...really fast...especially when working solo without another horse to chase or run alongside of on the track.
"I thought it was breathtaking...It sent cold chills up my back," said McGaughey after Orb breezed. "From the 1/8 poll to the wire, I looked down (at his stopwatch), and he'd gone 11 (seconds) and change. I was surprised."
At the same time, McGaughey said he wasn't surprised at Orb's impressive morning, because the way in which his horse ran. Orb didn't even look tired. It was as if he went for a stroll in the park.
After posting those fractions, Orb just trotted back to the barn and went about his business. The Derby winner wasn't frazzled one bit. McGaughey said it perfectly. Horses that are supposed to be good horses do things like what Orb did Monday morning one week after the biggest win in horse racing, on a track where "off" doesn't begin to describe its condition at Derby 139.
"I think it's a tribute to the way he came out of the Derby," said McGaughey. "To come back and be able to have a work like that, and do it the way he did it, I couldn't be more thrilled...this couldn't have been more impressive."
McGaughey did not shy away from his confidence in Orb in the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby. He acknowledged Monday, five days before the second leg of the Triple Crown, that his confidence has been amped up even higher.
"Right now, I'm on cloud nine. The way he was striding today, the way he held his leads through the lane, I thought it was spectacular."
Orb left Belmont for Pimlico by van around 10 o'clock Monday morning. The plan is to walk him Tuesday, before he goes to the track in Baltimore Wednesday.
As for whether Orb is the same horse he was the Monday before the Derby, McGaughey smiled.
"I hope he was."
Horse racing fans hope so too, to keep hopes alive for the first Triple Crown winner in 35 years. The drought has gone long enough.