Orville N Wilbur's Back in Training After 29-Month Absence

By Margaret Ransom
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s grade II winner Orville N Wilbur's has been brought out of retirement after nearly 29 months on the sidelines and is currently prepping for a comeback by trainer Kristin Mulhall.

The 8-year-old son of Out of Place and the Beau's Eagle mare Squalling last raced on June 6, 2001 at Hollywood Park, finishing third in an allowance race for trainer Richard Mandella. He hasn't visited the winner's circle since a three-length allowance victory at Santa Anita in April of 1999.

"They were trying to put together a stallion deal for him, but they all fell through," Mulhall said. "So he just spent the last couple of years hanging out in a paddock at the farm, doing nothing. I guess he was originally retired because he had some wear and tear on his ankles, but he doesn't show much sign of that now and I haven't had any trouble with them at all."

Orville N Wilbur's won the 1998 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) by five lengths and was immediately considered one of California's top early contenders for the Run for the Roses. The Thoroughbred Corp. purchased an 80 percent share in the bay horse for a reported $1.2 million, but he failed to live up to expectations after a poor showing in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and only managed to win one more race from eight additional starts.

From 14 races overall, Orville N Wilbur's won nine times, with two thirds, for earnings of $327,008. He was bred in Florida by David La Croix.

"He's like an old man; he's got a lot of class," Mulhall said. "He's very aggressive and really likes what he does. I worked him a couple of times now and he's nearly pulled my arms off. When he's ready to run, we'll find a spot and as long as he's interested and competitive he can keep training. But he'll never run at a level where someone will take him. I'd rather just send him back home and look for another stallion deal."