Jockey Joel Rosario has been named to ride Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Orb in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), agent Ron Anderson confirmed April 10.
Rosario rode the 3-year-old son of Malibu Moon in his first five starts, but was unable to take the mount in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and Florida Derby due to prior calls—including a profitable one guiding Animal Kingdom to victory in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 30.
Jockey John Velazquez was in the irons for both of Orb's victories in this year's key Derby preps, but has been sidelined after injuring his rib and chipping the radius bone in his right wrist in an April 7 spill at Aqueduct Racetrack. He plans to resume riding May 1 in time for the Derby.
Velazquez is also the regular rider of Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Verrazano for trainer Todd Pletcher; the jockey's agent, Angel Cordero Jr., confirmed April 10 that Velazquez will be aboard the 3-year-old son of More Than Ready in the Derby May 4.
Rosario rode Vyjack to a third in the Wood Memorial and was also aboard the Rudy Rodriguez trainee to win the Gotham Stakes (gr. II); no Derby rider has been named for Vyjack yet.
Orb was bred in Kentucky out of the Unbridled mare Lady Liberty by Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable, and races for those connections and Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. He has four wins and a third from seven starts with earnings of $921,050, and currently ranks first on the leaderboard for the Kentucky Derby field with 150 points.
"We're elated to be back on this horse; he's an improving horse for some really nice people and nice connections, and we're excited for the opportunity," Anderson said.