Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Orb appears to be well in spite of his last-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I), an assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey reported the morning of Sept. 29.
Three-year-old Orb, who bobbled at the start of the race Sept. 28 at Belmont Park, was placed three- wide in fifth-place for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/4-mile race and then faded. The son of Malibu Moon was beaten 22 1/4 lengths by winner Ron the Greek in the first start of his career against older horses.
There was no immediate answer for the puzzling effort from the McGaughey camp.
"Orb seemed to come back fine," assistant Buzz Tenney said. "He cooled out fine, and we put him on the van and sent him back to Fair Hill (in Maryland) last night. Really no excuses we could see."
"He looked great, I thought, coming out of Fair Hill," Tenney said. "Going over (to saddle for the Gold Cup), I think we were all very, very confident, and it was disappointing, to say the least. We scoped him after the race yesterday, and he was clean. So far, that's all that has been done.
The Gold Cup was the eighth race of Orb's 2013 campaign. He opened the year winning an allowance race Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park and then reeled off wins in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II), the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I), and the Kentucky Derby.
Following that, Orb was fourth in the Preakness Stakes and third in the Belmont Stakes (both gr. I). McGaughey then moved Orb to the Fair Hill Training Center to prepare for the Travers Stakes (gr. I), and the bay colt appeared to blossom. He was third, beaten less than a length by winner Will Take Charge in the Travers.
Owned by his breeders, Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, Orb has won five of 12 lifetime races with earnings of $2,612,516.