Orb rises to the top of 3-Year-Old Poll
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Orb's thrilling victory in Saturday's Florida Derby propelled him to the top of the NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll in week 5. In the National Poll, Animal Kingdom moved right behind Game On Dude off his win in the Dubai World Cup.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, Orb used his 2 3/4-length Florida Derby win to leap frog over Verrazano in the rankings. The colt received 25 first-place votes and 464 points in the voting.
"It's really exciting. I've never won the Fountain of Youth and now to win the Florida Derby it's exciting. I'm happy for all the people who have put so much work into it," McGaughey said.
Verrazano, who will start in Saturday's Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, had held the top spot since his win in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the colt picked up 16 top votes and 436 points.
Revolutionary, winner of the Louisiana Derby, bounced from sixth to third with three first-place votes and 371 points.
"That's the kind of horse we would like to take to the Kentucky Derby. He can do everything," said the colt's jockey Javier Castellano.
Gotham Stakes winner Vyjack, also headed for the Wood Memorial, remains fourth with four first-place votes and 306 points.
Itsmyluckyday, second in the Florida Derby, fell two rungs to fifth with a single top vote and 288 points.
"I really wanted to win the Florida Derby," said trainer Ed Plesa Jr. "It would have meant so much to me and the other owners, but I was very pleased with his race and Orb was the best horse Saturday. As important as Saturday's race was to us, it wasn't the ultimate goal."
Rounding out the poll are Hear the Ghost (179), Flashback (143), Oxbow (108), Will Take Charge (108) and Dreaming of Julia (1, 105).
The voters in the National Poll made it a two horse race by moving Animal Kingdom right behind Game On Dude.
Trained by Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom won by more than two lengths in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and advanced in the rankings from eighth to second, just 36 points behind leader Game On Dude.
"I listened to my trainer and to my horse. He's a very good horse. He did it. He's very quick," said Animal Kingdom's jockey Joel Rosario.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude received only 15 first-place votes, 13 fewer than last week, while Animal Kingdom picked up 23 top votes. However, "Dude" got 443 points to "Kingdom"'s 407.
Reigning Horse of the year Wise Dan, who has yet to race in 2013, picked up six first-place votes and 335 points.
New Orleans Handicap winner Graydar moved up a spot to fifth with a single first-place vote and 286 points.
"We did expect a big effort out of him," said Graydar's co-owner Steve Davidson. "I was real proud the way he dug in there and battled against a really good field, we thought."
Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned begins the second half of the Top-10 with 192 points followed by Royal Delta, 10th in the Dubai World Cup, (178), Suggestive Boy (113), Ron the Greek (79) and Orb (47).
04/01 16:56:49 ET