The track was muddy and the day was drizzly, but that didn’t stop Orb from proving the odds-makers correct by coming in ahead in the 2013 Kentucky Derby this weekend. Bred from Maryland stallion Malibu Moon and co-owned by Marylander Stuart Janney III, Orb came from behind to win by two and a half lengths.
The Janney family’s deep connection to horse racing — both on the flat and over fences — is detailed in this Baltimore Magazine story. Suffice to say that Janneys (and their predecessors) have won the Hunt Cup and the Maryland Million, as well as bred Kentucky Derby champions. Stuart Janney’s grandmother bred Bold Ruler, the 1957 Preakness winner who sired Secretariat and Seattle Slew.
And now add to that list a Derby winner. But while the Derby is the most famous horse race in the United States, it’s not one that Janney has particularly focused on in his career to date. “Honestly, I think the push for the Triple Crown does a lot of harm,” Janney told the Baltimore Sun (before the Derby). “It takes a really exceptional horse to even run in those races at that age. But there’s so much focus on it that, I think, trainers and owners push the horses and maybe miss little injuries, or don’t see that a horse isn’t going the way he needs to.”
It turns out that Orb was just that exceptional horse. And of course, a win in the Derby gets everyone thinking about the Triple Crown, so Orb is now being readied for the mid-May Preakness Stakes. Will the hometrack advantage favor Orb? We can certainly hope. Meanwhile, Janney and his cousin/co-owner Ogden Mills (“Dinny”) Phipps, can celebrate their first Derby win.
“I like watching every aspect of this game—I enjoy the breeding side just as much as I enjoy the racing,” Janney told Baltimore Magazine. “I probably get more satisfaction out of breeding a horse, watching it grow up, watching it accomplish something, and then seeing it go back as either a broodmare or stallion, than I do watching it race—that whole cycle intrigues me.
“I like the fact that between [trainer Claude “Shug” McGaughey] Shug and me, we’ve seen the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of all these horses. Shug’s trained four generations of the horse that has now become Orb.”
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