Orb In A Munching Mood After Riding From New York

Published By: 
Bob Fortus
May 13, 2013


Because of Orb, the grass along the Pimlico stakes barn became an endangered species Monday afternoon.

For 40 minutes, the Kentucky Derby winner dragged assistant trainer/exercise rider Jenn Patterson back and forth as he feverishly munched grass. Orb, his coat shining in the afternoon sun, stopped every so often, as if to give the many photographers a chance to click off shots.

“I tell you, he expects cameras on him now,’’ Patterson said, rubbing his face as he chewed.

Orb’s looked sharp and healthy.

Keep in mind, he had started his day by working a half-mile in 47.18 seconds at Belmont Park, then taking an about five-hour van ride to Pimlico.

Nine days after overpowering the opposition in the mile-and-a-quarter Kentucky Derby, Orb was exhibiting high energy.

He was a handful when Patterson led him off the van.

Then, she walked him several times around the shed row in the stakes barn – the click, click, click from cameras greeting him as he finished each lap.

While he was grazing, Patterson mentioned an issue with his personality. “He’s claustrophobic,’’ she said. “That’s his only thing. Sometimes, he doesn’t want to go in his stall. Once he gets in there, he’s fine. Sometimes, he hesitates to go in.’’

Shortly after 4 p.m., Orb was led into stall 40 in the stakes barn – the stall reserved for the Derby winner – where such champions as Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed had resided before winning the Preakness en route to the Triple Crown. Orb didn’t hesitate.

“The interesting thing about Orb is not only everything changed over the winter, but his personality’s changing all the time too,’’ trainer Shug McGaughey said. “He’s settling in to what he’s got to do a lot more than maybe earlier in the winter. He’s got a few little personality traits. One of them is he doesn’t like for you to bother him too much.  If you do, he’ll let you know about it.

“Sometimes, he might be a little fickle about going in and out of his stall. We found at Belmont if because of the weather, sometimes we didn’t get to – after he worked out and stuff – we didn’t get to graze him, then he’d be a little bit hesitant about going in his stall. But the other day, we didn’t put him in, walked him 15 more minutes. By that time it had quit raining. We let him pick at the grass a little while. He walked right in. Today, as always, he was a little bit funny – you just have to wait on him until he gets ready to get on the van. But nothing bad. Nothing we can’t work with.’’

The trip to Baltimore was another hurdle crossed as Orb approaches the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

“From everything I’ve seen, everything just sort of keeps getting better – his demeanor, as much as he’s enjoying what he’s doing,’’ McGaughey said. “So, obviously, I’m thinking about what I’m going to be doing this week, but I’m not really worried about it.’’


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