Mrs. Orb holds off Lucky Move to capture Bay Ridge in stakes debut

Sunday, December 29th, 2019

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Mrs. Orb, a dark bay daughter of Orb bred by Rhapsody Farm, won her stakes debut at Aqueduct on the final weekend of 2019, when she held off Lucky Move to win Sunday’s $100,000 Bay Ridge Stakes by a short nose. The victory over fellow New York-bred fillies and mares marks her fourth win in a row for trainer Mike Miceli, who co-owns Mrs. Orb with Ruggeri Stable, Richard Coburn and Script R Farm.

Following a pair of scratches, the field of the 1 1/8-mile Bay Ridge Stakes was winnowed down to a well-matched quintet. Partnered with jockey Dylan Davis, aboard for the fifth straight time, Mrs. Orb was sent away as the 9-2 second betting choice.

Mrs. Orb broke last of the group when the gates flew open, and shared the caboose with 9-1 Lucky Move to her inside through the clubhouse turn. By contrast, 2-5 favorite Our Super Nova caught a flyer, but after outbreaking her rivals, deferred the lead to Out of Orbit from the post one, and settled down at the rail to run a pocketed third.

As Out of Orbit led by 1 1/2 lengths through a sedate 52.30 half-mile, Mrs. Orb advanced a spot. Then, rallying into contention in approach to the far turn, she began to pick off rivals in the bend. A clear second after straightening out for the stretch drive, she drew a bead Out of Orbit, while Our Super Nova remained penned in down at the rail.

Mrs. Orb fought her way to the lead just past the furlong marker and built up a one-length advantage. With Our Super Nova will still searching for running room, a bigger threat emerged from another quarter with a sixteenth of a mile to go.

Rallying on the outside, Lucky Move made up ground with every stride, captured second and in the final jumps drew even with Mrs. Orb. As the two heads bobbed up and down, Mrs. Orb saved the day for her connections by holding on for the narrow victory.

Three and three-quarter lengths back, Out of Orbit preserved third, followed across the line by Our Super Nova and longshot Cartwheel. After a mile in 1:43.02 over the track, which was officially “fast” but was playing slowly on the day, the final time for nine furlongs was 1:56.14.

Winning jockey Dylan Davis commented on both his mount’s compromised break and nail-biting finish.

“She broke with her head in the air and I had to use her going into the first turn,” Davis said. “I didn’t like my position being last, so I just wanted to get her into the race a little bit. It might have compromised the win margin, but we did what we had to do. She likes to be involved. She’s not a deep closer at all, and today was her kind of track.”

As to the battle at the wire, Davis said, “She’s a fighter. To be honest, I didn’t think I got the photo. Luckily, I got the bob. She fought hard to the wire, and I just kept pushing past the wire, because I knew it was close.”

Trainer and co-owner Mike Miceli added, “I knew it was close at the wire. On the slow-motion [replay] I saw her head go down and I thought we got [Lucky Move].”

Kendrick Carmouche, aboard the runner-up said, “I knew I had the [head bob] before [the wire], but I didn’t know if I had the next one. That was a tough one. Dylan’s horse was sticking her head out trying to win the race. . . The filly ran her race. She tried hard but just couldn’t get the head bob. I thought she’d be tough in this spot if they ran fast or slow, but she ran her race.”

Mrs. Orb has taken a little while to find her winning ways. In eight starts at three, she chased a maiden victory in vain. Constantly in the hunt and consistently well-backed at the windows, she did not find the winner’s circle until start number eleven when she switched to turf and enjoyed a little class relief in a $40,000 maiden claiming race.

Unplaced in her first encounter with winners next out at Belmont on September 21, also on turf, she switched back to dirt routes and has done nothing but win, reeling off four straight victories. She galloped through her state-bred allowance conditions at Belmont and Aqueduct on October 14 and November 1, and mastered open allowance foes 32 days before the Bay Ridge, stalking and rallying on each occasion.

The Bay Ridge victory improves Mrs. Orb’s record to five wins, three seconds and three thirds in 16 starts and boosts her earnings bankroll to $266,020.

Mrs. Orb is the second foal out of Gypsy Angel, a one-hundred percent producer with two winners from two foals to start. An unplaced Kentucky-bred daughter of Silver Train, she has since produced a juvenile filly by Central Banker cleverly named Quantitativbreezin, a yearling colt by Anchor Down and a weanling filly by Bird Song, to whom she was bred back in 2019.

Miceli observed, “[Mrs. Orb] was coming up to the race in good shape. She was training very well and coming in off three straight wins. If there was a time to try her in a stakes race, today was the day. She really came through. She did everything we thought she would. I didn’t think the mile and an eighth was a question for her. She has an idling speed where she can run long at a nice steady pace. That’s probably her best go, and she was on cruise control most of the way.”

The conditioner is planning to point Mrs. Orb to state-bred stakes in 2020.

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