Mrs. Orb upsets Sharp Starr in La Verdad

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

Mrs. Orb, slated to sell in next week’s Keeneland January sale, wins Sunday’s $100,000 La Verdad. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

A shade more than a year removed from becoming a stakes winner on the final weekend of 2019, Mrs. Orb ended a run of seconds and collected her second stakes victory on the first weekend of 2021 in Sunday’s $100,000 La Verdad Stakes at Aqueduct.

Mrs. Orb and jockey Dylan Davis, who teamed up in late 2019 to win the Bay Ridge in the now 6-year-old Orb mare’s stakes debut, upset odds-on favorite Sharp Starr in the 7-furlong La Verdad. Mrs. Orb won by a length from Sharp Starr in 1:24.54.

The La Verdad, reduced to a field of four with the scratches of Timely Tradition and Sadie Lady, ended Mrs. Orb’s run of five straight runner-up finishes. Long or short; Aqueduct, Belmont Park or Saratoga Race Course, it didn’t matter in 2020 as Mrs. Orb finished second in the Critical Eye, Union Avenue, Empire Distaff, Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm and Bay Ridge.

Until Sunday’s La Verdad.

“She’s a hard-trying filly,” Davis said. “I’m just happy that I could get to win with her again.”

Davis let Mrs. Orb gallop at the back in the early stages, never far back but not mixing it up on the lead up the backstretch while Prairie Fire led Sharp Starr through the opening quarter-mile in :24.16. Mrs. Orb continued in fourth behind Prairie Fire, Sharp Starr and Espresso Shot through the half in :47.95.

Sharp Starr, coming off back-to-back victories in an allowance and the Grade 3 Go For Wand for Horacio DePaz, cut into Prairie Fire’s lead turning for home while those two came wide into the lane. That opened up a gap to the inside for Espresso Shot, who surged through briefly while Davis kept Mrs. Orb rolling on the outside almost eight paths off the rail.

Mrs. Orb and Sharp Starr battled inside the final furlong with the former edging away late to win for the sixth time in 23 starts, to go with eight seconds and three thirds for $439,520 in earnings.

Bred by Rhapsody Farm and a $30,000 purchase at the 2017 OBS June 2-year-olds in training sale, Mrs. Orb could wind up running for new connections of heading to the breeding shed after her latest victory. She’s cataloged to sell in the first session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale that begins Monday, Jan. 11.

“That’s still the intention,” said winning trainer Mike Miceli, who co-owns the mare with Ruggeri Setable, Richard Coburn, Script R Farm. “Things can always change, but right now that’s still on.”

Davis, aboard Mrs. Orb for 11 of her last 12 starts dating back to a Belmont turf allowance in September 2019, tipped his cap to the consistent mare.

“If that’s her last race, that’s very nice and Mike has done a good job with her throughout her career,” he said. “I’m just happy to be aboard her and get the job done today.”

Mrs. Orb, the second foal out of the Silver Train mare Gypsy Angel, is a half sister to Kentucky-bred winner One Call Away, a 7-year-old by Central Banker. Gypsy Angel is also the dam of 4-year-old Central Banker filly Quantitativbreezin, 3-year-old Anchor Down gelding Transport and an unnamed 2-year-old filly by Bird Song.

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