Fountain of Youth Stakes champ Orb came charging down the middle of the stretch to capture Saturday's 62nd edition of the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
The victory was worth 100 points in the new Kentucky Derby points system that will determine the field for the 139th Run for the Roses on May 4. Orb now has 150 points guaranteeing him a place at Churchill Downs.
Going off as the 17-10 favorite in the 10-horse field was Holy Bull Stakes winner Itsmyluckyday. Shanghai Bobby, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was the 2-1 second choice and Orb was third at 5-2.
Trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by John Velazquez, Orb was racing in the first flight of horses in the 1 1/8-mile stakes. Setting the pace was Merit Man followed closely by Shanghai Bobby, Narvaez, Itsmyluckyday and Orb.
Around the final turn Itsmyluckyday drew even with Merit Man as Orb moved four wide to make it a three horse race. Coming off the turn Orb was to the outside of Itsmyluckyday and drove past the favorite through the stretch.
Orb, owned by Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, registered a 2 3/4-length victory over Itsmyluckyday with Merit Man holding on for third.
"I'm very pleased with the day's effort. We'll see how he comes out of it," comment McGaughey.
Rounding out the order of finish were Narvaez, Shanghai Bobby, Pick of the Litter, Frac Daddy, Are You Kidding Me, Indy's Illusion and Pontiff.
Orb completed the Florida Derby on a fast track in 1:50.87.
Orb picks up $600,000 with the win, his fourth straight, and has now earned $921,050 with four wins in seven starts. It was the second Florida Derby win for Velazquez who was aboard Quality Road in 2009.
Orb returned $7.80, $3.80 and $3.40. Itsmyluckyday paid $3.00 and $2.60, and Merit Man paid $8.60 to show.