Orion Nebula Bounces Back, Takes SA Derby in Battle to Wire

13 SA     SA Derby (GI)  [KYD]

          $1,000.000            3yo             1 1/8m  Dirt              122lbs

In his last race, I picked Orion Nebula… he didn’t beat a horse that day.  In this one, I overlooked one of my favorite 3yo’s and he bounced back in a big way… taking the SA Derby (GI) by a nose, in a final time of 1:48.13 for the mile and an eighth and certainly punching his ticket to the KYD.  Groovy had every chance in the world but settled for the second spot with his stablemate Immoral in third.

The field of twelve entered the starting gate and the doors sprung open with Ngannou showing speed from the outside, Rendezvous giving chase, Laffin Hero along the rail and Groovy next to that one, back outside to Immoral and Jak The Ripper to his inside.  A gap back to Aggravated Sky three wide, Geronimo between horses, Orion Nebula saving ground on the rail, Lock Away The Key four wide, then a gap back to the trailing pair of Local Dude and Lord Of Peace.

The field made their way around the clubhouse turn and were nearing the back stretch with six furlongs to run and Ngannou was in front by two.  The trio of Groovy, Laffin Hero on the rail and Immoral widest of that group, then a gap back to Rendezvous, Aggravated Sky next to that one, Jak The Ripper just in behind that pair, Orion Nebula to his inside, Lock Away The Key to his outside and Lord Of Peace widest of all.  Geronimo behind that group and Local Dude was now at the back of the pack.

Continue down the backside and now into the far turn with three furlongs to run, Ngannou was on cruise control and led by two.  Groovy wasn’t going away, with Laffin Hero still stuck to the rail in third.  Immoral lost a bit of ground to fourth, Rendezvous just in behind that one with Aggravated Sky on his flank.  Another length to Lord Of Peace running very wide, Orion Nebula starting to inch up, Jak The Ripper on his outside and between horses, Local Dude in behind that group skimming the rail, Lock Away The Key and Geronimo was now the trailer.

Into the lane and now at the furlong marker, Ngannou looked to be running out of fuel as Groovy was now within a neck, Laffin Hero between that pair and moving up, Immoral cut the corner and was in perfect striking position from the rail, Rendezvous next to him and now Orion Nebula gaining ground as the rest had a lot of work to do and a short time to get it done.

Deep stretch now… the final 150-yards and to the finish…  five across the track as Groovy stuck a neck in front, Orion Nebula pushing forward and gaining ground, Laffin Hero and Immoral in the thick of it as Ngannou began to go in the wrong direction… but it was Orion Nebula moving fastest of all, and he pulled even with Groovy, just two jumps from the wire and they hit the wire in a blur of horse flesh and silk colors.  The stewards took a look at the photograph and it was Orion Nebula by a nose.  Groovy was a tough-luck second with Immoral a half length back in third.  Laffin Hero was another head back in fourth, then Geronimo in fifth, Ngannou in sixth, Lord Of Peace in seventh, Rendezvous in eighth, Local Dude ninth, Aggravated Sky tenth, Lock Away The Key in eleventh and Jak The Ripper closed this one out.

Orion Nebula is a 3yo black gelded son of Sweep The Nebula – Buzz The Tower, by Buzzing and he was bred by Broken Spoke Stables in TX.  John Henry acquired this one for $300.000 in a private transaction, and he now has five wins from his ten starts and earnings of $1,232.900 for his efforts.

$2 Mutuel Prices:

2 – Orion Nebula 19.70 8.20 12.80
3 – Groovy   5.20 8.90
11 – Immoral     6.90

Track: Fast         Time: :47   1:103  1:352  1:48
$1 Exacta:
 2 – 3 Paid 142.20
          $1 Trifecta: 2 – 3 – 11 Paid 2,034.00
Scratched: Personal BeliefsSilent Commander

Orion Nebula broke in hand, allowed to settle off of the pace while moving over to the inside, continued to rate well, responded when asked, on even terms with foe to the finals strides, prevailed.  Groovy broke well and was forwardly placed throughout, took over into the lane, caught late, game effort.  Immoral settled in behind the pace, lost ground into the far turn, re-fired and was full of run to the wire, out-finished late. Laffin Hero away well, tracked the pace throughout, contended into deep stretch, could not better position.  Geronimo lacked any early speed, trailed to the top of the lane, best foot too late.   Ngannou fair start, moved up quickly to take command, set the pace to the furlong marker, headed, spent.  Lord Of Peace was not a factor.  Rendezvous raced mid-pack while never far from the pace, asked, no response, tired.  Local Dude was outrun.  Aggravated Sky raced mid-pack for seven furlongs, tired. Lock Away The Key was outrun.  Jak The Ripper was outrun.

Categories: FEATURED STORIES, Grade I

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