LOUISVILLE — Orb splashed through the slop to win the Kentucky Derby, giving Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first victory in the 3-year-old classic.
When the field turned for home on the cool, overcast Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs, Normandy Invasion grabbed the lead while Orb was gearing up. But in the deep stretch, Orb prevailed, carrying Joel Rosario to his first Derby win.
Long shot Golden Soul was second with Revolutionary third.
Normandy Invasion faded to fourth.
Orb, the 5-1 favorite, ran the 1¼ miles in 2:02.89
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If Frac Daddy is going to win today's Kentucky Derby and wear the blanket of roses, the gray colt is going to have to defy some hefty odds.
And we're not just talking about the 50-1 on the morning line set by the Churchill Downs oddsmaker at midweek.
Kentucky-bred Frac Daddy, owned by Carter Stewart and Ken Schlenker of Billings, will start from the No. 18 post position in the auxiliary gate.
Since 1900, there has just been one Derby winner from that spot — Gato Del Sol in 1982.
That's according to a breakdown of winners by post position in a story posted on www.bleacherreport.com
There will be a 19 horses in today's 139th edition, which will cover 1 1/4-miles on dirt. Post time is set for 4:24 p.m. (Mountain time).
Longshot Black Onyx was a late scratch Friday because of a chip in his left ankle.
The scratch occurred after early wagering for the race had opened, so Black Onyx's No. 1 post position will be left empty on Saturday.
The remaining horses will stay in their original starting gate positions.
The Nos. 1 and 5 post positions have generated 12 winners apiece, according to the Derby records dating back to 1900.
No. 4 has been the starting point for 11 champions, while 10 have come from Nos. 8 and 10.
Last year's champion, I'll Have Another, won from the No. 19 gate, which was a first.
By the way, there has never been a Derby winner from starting position No. 17 since 1900.
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With Derby betting opening on Friday, the odds for Frac Daddy had dipped to 15-1 by early evening.
The live odds on kentuckyderby.com indicated that over $28,500 had already been bet on him out of the $567,125.14 in early wagering.
No. 3 Revolutionary (5-1 odds) was the leader at $74,298, followed by No. 8 Goldencents (5-1) at $71,372 and No. 16 Orb (6-1) at $62,573.
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The two Won $800 Casino & Sports Books in Billings will offer local horse players a place to watch and place a last-minute bet on the Derby.
The simulcast sites are located at the corner of Broadwater and 24th Street and near Geyser Park at 4907 Southgate Drive.
Besides the Derby, owner Jill Lindell said her Won $800 Casinos will also be offering the entire season of Churchill Downs racing this year as part of the Montana Simulcast Racing network.
Lindell said she is expecting overflow crowds on Saturday.
She used to race thoroughbreds with Stewart at MetraPark's Yellowstone Downs.
Lindell also said trainer Ken McPeek of Kentucky "is very good at what he does.
"I'm a firm believer in Frac Daddy," she added. "Any horse that goes to the gate in the Derby is a horse that's for real."
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It appears there is a Treasure State tie to a more recent Derby winner.
Reader Bishop Grewell noted in a Friday email to The Gazette that Pamela Scharbauer, then a 30-year-old Missoula businesswoman, was part owner with her mother, Dorothy, of Kentucky-bred Alysheba, who won the Derby and Preakness in 1987.
Montana-bred Spokane captured the 1889 Derby -- 124 years ago.
That was believed to be the last time there was a strong Montana connection in the Derby's winner's circle.
Spokane was owned by Noah Armstrong of Virginia City.