Orb and his South American Connection

February 18, 2021

There was some chatter on Twitter last week about Orb, the ten-year-old son of established sire Malibu Moon, heading to Uruguay, South America, to stand for the 2021 Summer season. While this has not been confirmed and a call to Claiborne Farm received a response of “we have no comment or information at this time,” there was one compelling Tweet.

Hector Garcia, Communicator #MundoTurf on La Tele, Sport 890 and Ovación Tweeted: “The agreement was signed on the date for the arrival of the stallion Orb to Uruguay in a joint effort of several Uruguayan herds. The best for them and the national elevation.”

While we await confirmation and more details, Past The Wire thought we’d delve into Orb’s background and pedigree. 

On the Track

Orb began his career as a Two-Year-Old and broke his maiden on his fifth start on November 24, 2012. This preparation was a promising start for the colt, and he continued his rising form by winning an allowance race at Gulfstream on January 26, 2013.

In his Three Year Old season, Orb was moved up in class to contest the Fountain of Youth Stakes (Gr 2), which he won from the race favorite, Violence, and on March 30, repaid his connections faith by winning the Florida Derby (Gr 1).

He followed up his Florida Derby victory with up with a strong preparation to contest the Triple Crown.

Orb was set for the Kentucky Derby (Gr 1) and punters were now hot for this big bay son of Malibu Moon, who started as favorite. He won the Derby on a sloppy and heavy track from Golden Soul, with Revolutionary running third.

He started as favorite for the Preakness Stakes, however he finished up fourth. Orb started again, as favorite, for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, and despite brave run, he crossed the wire for third.

Following his Triple Crown campaign, Orb was entered in the Travers Stakes, where he finished third and in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, where he ran well back in the field.

Six weeks later Orb was syndicated to retire for stud duties at Claiborne Farm, where he was born, with a total race career tally of twelve starts for five wins and two thirds, and career earnings of $2,612,516.

Career as a Stallion

Orb entered stud for the 2014 season for a fee of $25,000, where his stall was previously occupied by Blue Grass Stakes winner Pulpit (and grandsire of California Chrome) and the legendary Round Table. If this isn’t impressive enough, he resides in the same paddock in which Secretariat once called home.

He attracted around 105 mares in his first season and has since been supported by good quality mares like Debutante Stakes (G3) winner, Just Louise (Five Star Day), multiple stakes winner, Aspenglow (Lion Hearted), multiple blacktype producer Fashion Cat (Forest Wildcat), Court of Appeal (dam of Authenticity) and Ruthville (half-sister to Del Mar Oaks (G1) winner, Rutherienne).

Among his best preforming progeny are Orbolution (P G Johnson Stakes), Mrs Orb (La Verdad Stakes; Bay Ridge Stakes), Pleasant Orb (2nd, Longines Acorn Stakes, Gr 1), Eagle Orb (Notebook Stakes) and Whoa Nellie (Pippin Stakes; Joseph E. Spanky Broussard Memorial Stakes). To date Orb has $9.8 million in earnings, from 23 stakes horse and 7 Graded performers.

Distinctive Pedigree 

Orb is as well-bred as they come. Both sides of his pedigree are peppered with mares of such high quality they are given the distinction of Reines de Course, meaning “Queens of the Turf” a series created by Ellen Parker in 1991 to study and recognize the contributions of the world’s most influential mares.

His sire, Malibu Moon is by A.P Indy (Seattle Slew), who of course needs no introduction and his dam Macoumba, a daughter of French mare Maximova (Prix de la Salamandre {Fr-1}) and Mr Prospector, has produced 14 siblings to Malibu Moon, including British Medium (Storm Cat), who went to stud at Haras San Miguel, in Uruguay and Messner (Bernadini), who went to stud in Venezuela at Haras Las Trinitarias. 

Go back another generation for more French flavour to Maximova’s dam Baraclara, and you’ll find she is also the dam of French Champion Three-Year-Old filly, Vilikaia (Swaps).

Orb’s maternal pedigree gives more compelling reasons as to why he has gone to Uruguay, given sires from the family already establishing there, and upon closer inspection, it becomes even clearer. In a February 11th Tweet by Hector Garcia, confirmed: “The agreement was signed on the date for the arrival of the stallion Orb to Uruguay in a joint effort of several Uruguayan herds. The best for them and the national elevation.”

This strategy for “national elevation” began way back in Orb’s maternal fifth generation, with an outstanding mare by the name of Shenanigans. The grey daughter of Native Dancer was the dam of well-known sire, Icecapade, and the ill-fated filly Ruffian, who was Champion Two and Three-Year-old Filly and 1976 Hall of Fame inductee.

Her second foal, Laughter, was the dam of Private Terms and her daughter, Laughing Look (Damascus) was the dam of multiple Graded winner and Sire, Coronado’s Quest and multiple Listed winner, Warning Glance.

Shenanigans’ 1983 filly, also by Damascus, Steel Maiden produced Dixie Deb (Dixieland Band), whose daughter You Asked (Yes its True) is the dam of several earners, including Tom Fool Handicap winner, Do Share (Candy Ride {ARG}).

It has been Dixie Deb’s half-sister, Mesabi Maiden, who has essentially begun the breed’s establishment in South America. 

Mesabi Maiden herself won the 1996 Black Eyed Susan Stakes (Gr 2), and her daughter Alter Girl (Pulpit), left the U.S for Argentina in 2010, in foal to the Danehill stallion, North Light (IRE), the foal was eventually named Nonna Polola (ARG) and she has three other Argentinian born progeny there, Annie Hall (Sidney’s Candy {ARG}), Musruk (The Leopard {ARG}) and Mejia (Holy Boss {ARG}).

Mesabi Maiden’s 2008 filly, Princess Daisy (Touch Gold) was sent to Uruguay from the U.S and has had outstanding success with prominent stallion Texas Fever, in the way of their daughter Algecira Fever (URU), who was crowned Uruguay’s Champion Three Year Old Filly.

In 2011, another of Mesabi Maiden’s fillies, Unwritten Story (Smart Strike) would head off to South America, where she is settled in Argentina.

But it is her 1999 filly, Lady Liberty (Unbridled), who has given us Orb.

Given the emerging success of the family in Uruguay, it’s unsurprising that the Industry would want to grow its influence and with the acquisition of Orb, it has a good opportunity to do just that.

Orb wins the 2013 Kentucky Derby. 

By Rachel Humphrey with Maribeth Kalinich, contributor

Photo: Orb wins the 2013 Kentucky Derby (Eric Kalet) 

@jonathanstettin major bias play, thanks j man!!!! Lol

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