RSS Feed for this Blog

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hoping for an Easy Go for Orb


If Orb is going to win, I want like to see him deliver a truly great effort. He could do so. His Derby victory, though it was accomplished under favorable circumstances, was certainly no fluke. And he may continue to improve. His trainer, Shug McGaughey, takes his time developing horses. In 1989, his great colt Easy Goer improved sharply from the Derby to the Preakness (which he lost by a nose) and then improved even more to win the Belmont Stakes by eight lengths. If Orb is on a similar trajectory, the sport may have plenty of excitement in the coming weeks. [Washington Post]
Great point there about Easy Goer.  And, like Orb, that colt ran three times at three before the Derby - winning the Swale, Gotham, and Wood.  But the spacing was very different of course.  The Wood was only two weeks before the Derby, and the Gotham two weeks before that.  The two races in the four weeks before the Derby are two more than Orb, who'd last run in the Florida Derby five weeks prior, ran during that time.  Amazing....again, it's hard to get over how drastically things have changed in such a relative blink of an eye.  However, all things being relatively equal given the changes in the game, and assuming that there's no Sunday Silence lurking in the field, here's some hopeful historical precedent for Orb to soar into a Triple Crown bid at Belmont three weeks hence.


ballyfager said...

There were three Triple Crown winners in the Seventies. And there very easily could have been a fourth but for an unfortunate mishap before the race. There have been no TC winners since. The four horses were; Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Spectacular Bid.

Based on what we have seen so far, Orb could not get into the same zip code with any of these horses.

At most, he is the best of a mediocre crop of 3y.o.'s. I'm not sure he's even that good. He may well win Saturday because, my God, look at the field. OTOH he got a perfect setup in the Derby. The pace was ridiculous. It may not happen that way this time.

Governor Charlie, Goldencents, and Itsmyluckyday all have better races than anything Orb has done so far. But they are all questionable at the distance.

If I'm wrong about Orb I'll be in good company. Andy Beyer refused to admit that Seattle Slew was a great horse even AFTER he won the Triple Crown.

August Song said...

Eleven of the previous twelve Triple Crown winners were homebreds, (All except Seattle Slew). With a sport, that has had breeders being hellbent to develop and sell horses based almost exclusively on their precociousness and speed, Orb breaks that mold. He's a homebred and he's gone "from ordinary to extraordinary."

The sport has changed. Buyers of horses get mesmerized by those horses running those 9 and 10 second eighths, that are put up for sale by breeders, pinhookers, and re-sellers. Orb isn't one of those. He was bred and developed old-fashioned style. And, thus far, Orb has just continued to get better. Breeders might want to consider the homebred and throwback approach, but I doubt it, and it's too bad. Because the mainstream is addicted to speed and precociousness.

Figless said...

Few have patience anymore, its always now, now, now, which is why this horse and his connections are so deserving and easy to root for.

Unlike Beyer, I am hoping for a very good winning performance, not GREAT, I want him to have something in the tank for the much greater test that awaits in three weeks.

Ballyfager, I assume you are basing your assertions on the fact that Orb has no two year old resume, because there is certainly no way to fault his 2013 record.

The world has changed, they don't run as often, but not sure what more you could want Orb to accomplish as a 3yo.

Your statement that, at most, he is the best of a mediocre crop of 3yo's is way premature.

I am skeptical as any in these matters, but this horse appears the real deal to me, deservedly so.

Govenor Charlie???? Really?? His Sunland Derby was better than the Florida Derby or Kentucky Derby? Gimme a break.

Itsmyluckyday? The same horse that Orb ran by like he was standing still in his last two starts?

Sometime folks get too caught up in speed figures and don't trust their eyes. Orb is potentially a great horse.

Time will tell.

ballyfager said...

@ Figless

When Gov. Charlie ran a mile & eighth in N. Mex in 1:47 1/5 the track was like a paved highway. The race looks better on paper than it actually was. Also, he beat nothing. But that time at that distance is not something that can be ignored.

I make Orb's Fla. Derby 1:51 2/5 by way of comparison. None of his races are fast for this level of competition. IMO Itsmyluckday's race on New Years Day is the best race any of these horses have run so far. But as the distances stretch out he's slowing down.

There's too much sentiment on display about Orb. I don't give a hoot in hell about Ogden Phipps or Shug McGaughey. I will make allowances for Stuart Janney because of Ruffian. That was one of the saddest days in racing history.

They're still young 3 y.o.'s. McGaughey says Orb is still improving. He may turn out to be a great horse. But he sure as hell isn't there yet.

Figless said...

Clearly I have no clue what I am talking about....

But I never said he was a great horse, I said he was a potentially a great horse.

And he still is, by the way, one race does not make a career.

And its still too early to judge this crop.

I don't think we disagree, actually, I just think its too early to judge the crop or the individual horses from a career perspective.

Forego was an also ran at this stage, for example.

ballyfager said...

I don't think we disagree all that much either. I certainly don't disagree that they might turn out to be a good crop. But they're not so hot at this point.

I liked Oxbow a lot in the Derby but he attended that ridiculous pace and had nothing left in the stretch. Because of that effort I thought bringing him back in two weeks was too soon.

My preferred colt was Itsmyluckyday all winter. But, as I've already said, as the distances stretched out he seemed to diminish. Nevertheless, I thought he was primed for a good effort yesterday and I had some tickets on him. But not with Oxbow. As we all know, this is a hard game.

Your point with Forego is well taken. He was seventeen hands and took some time to get organized. I well remember the race where he ran Honest Pleasure down in the deep stretch. One of the best races I ever saw.

Figless said...

Oxbow's effort in the Derby was excellent. I suppose everyone thought he would bounce on short rest, and a similar pace scenario would develop, at least I did. But when everyone else rated (as all their trainers said they would, honesty, who woulda thunk it?) it was race over.

Interesting ride on Titletown.

Lukas said he would rate and he did (I didn't believe him, thought he would be the rabbit)and Leparoux unleashed him just when Orb made his move, denying Orb the hole on the rail he was shooting for and stopping his momentum. A conspiracist (not me of course) could imagine a scenario where Lukas the Coach told Leparoux to run interference, but a truly worthy TC candidate would have overcome this minor setback.

But it seemed to take Orb completely out of the race, trapping him inside.

Bottom line Orb was undeserving like so many before him.

Hope they both come back for The Belmont, showdown between first three finishers in Derby and Preakness winner is a nice race, whether the crop turns out to be worthy or not.