When Orb thundered down the Churchill Downs stretch to win the 139th Kentucky Derby, one of the good guys in racing, Claude “Shug” McGaughey got his due. He is a patient trainer who does not run horses in the Derby just to have an entry, and his classy owners let him decide the best course for a horse.

Orb was Mr. McGaughey’s seventh Derby starter and his first since 2002. The Hall of Famer had the favorite, Easy Goer, in the 1989 Derby, who could not catch Sunday Silence.

Orb is a blue-blood by Malibu Moon, who is by A. P. Indy. The latter might have won the Triple Crown if he had not been scratched from the Kentucky Derby with a slight injury. He went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. A. P. Indy’s sire was 1974 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. Orb traces back on both his sire’s side of the pedigree and his dam’s side to Bold Ruler, who was owned by Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps.

She is the grandmother of Orb’s co-owners Stuart Janney III and Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps. Mrs. Phipps was the daughter-in-law of Henry Phipps, a childhood friend of Andrew Carnegie and later his partner in Carnegie Steel, which was integrated into U. S. Steel after it was purchased by J. P. Morgan. Phipps Plaza in Palm Beach and Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh are named for him. The prominent investment company Bessemer Trust, currently chaired by Mr. Janney, took its name from the Bessemer process for mass producing steel.

Ogden Phipps and Stuart Janney III are the Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, of the Jockey Club. Their families represent some of the last links with the era in American racing when it was dominated by names associated with the Gilded Age, like the Mellons, Vanderbilts, Whitneys, and Wideners.

Orb’s jockey, Dominican Republic native Joel Rosario, has had a springtime to remember. He won the Dubai World Cup on Animal Kingdom, set the record for wins at Keeneland (22 was the previous record and Mr. Rosario had 38), and now has won the Kentucky Derby. Another good fortune was when Orb’s former jockey, John Velazquez, opted to ride then-undefeated Verrazano in the Derby. (Last year, sadly, Mr. Rosario was not so lucky, as his brother, a policeman in the Dominican Republic, was killed in an automobile accident on Preakness Day.)

Orb has Triple Crown potential and racing could use a star performer. If the stretch runner can win the 1 3/16-mile Preakness, he will be made-to-order for the Belmont. Orb needs a fast pace in the Preakness to soften up the horses on or near the front end.

Orb’s win is certainly not a victory for the underdogs, quite the opposite, in fact. However, it is a win for horse racing. It is gratifying to see the Kentucky Derby won by individuals who do the sport of racing proud. Mr. McGaughey was visibly emotional during a television interview following the race. He is a native of Lexington, Kentucky, and it showed.

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