Verrazano and Falling Sky were the early leaders, but were quickly swallowed up by the pack. Palace Malice led from the first quarter pole through the entire backstretch, setting the fourth-fastest pace in Derby history. But Palace Malice's multiple-length lead couldn't hold, and several horses passed on the outside line.
Jockey Joel Rosario kept Orb hidden deep in the pack for much of the race, at one point as far back as 15th. But coming around the final turn, Orb pushed hard through the center of the track, kicking forward throughout the frontstretch to win going away. Orb's trainer Shug McGaughey, a horse-racing legend, had never won a Derby until now.
Derby Day dawned gray and never got any brighter. By the 6:24 p.m. ET post time, the track was soaked and muddy, shifting odds in the favor of the horses that could handle the muck. Verrazano, the only undefeated horse in the 19-horse field, saw its stock steadily slip, with Revolutionary and Orb coming in at 6-1 odds just before post time. Close behind were Rick Pitino's Goldencents (7-1), followed by Itsmyluckyday, Verrazano and Normandy Invasion (8-1). Pitino's good fortune as the reigning king of college basketball didn't carry over to the track, as Goldencents finished 17th.
For the Derby, a $2 bet paid $12.80. A $2 exacta, picking the first and second horses correctly, paid $981.60, while a $0.50 base on the trifecta (top three) paid $1,731.40. A $1.00 base on the superfecta (top four, including Normandy Invasion) paid $28,542.00.
Next up: the Preakness Stakes in two weeks. No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978, but Orb will take his shot.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.
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