If the experience of 2013 winner Orb is any indication Kentucky Derby betting favorite California Chrome could have retirement in his near future should he successfully win ‘The Run for the Roses’ on Saturday. Orb won last year’s race and is now retired and standing at stud at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky.
Groom John Niehaus said that Orb is taking to his new life of leisure:
“He’s made a good start. He’s a big man around here. We’ve given him Secretariat’s paddock.”
Niehaus says that Orb is a special horse:
“We like everything about him. He’ll have every chance to be top-notch. And we think he will do it.”
Just having a Kentucky Derby on the resume can greatly enhance the profitability of a horse in the breeding shed. Winning a Kentucky Derby is even more lucrative–Orb’s stud fee will be $25,000 and he’s expected to ‘service’ over 100 mares in his first breeding season. While the money that brings in isn’t quite as simple as just ‘doing the math’ since Orb’s owners get paid only for the delivery of a live foal that’s still a healthy chunk of change.
In addition, Orb has been ‘syndicated’ and shareholders have breeding rights in proportion to the number of shares they hold. They’re going to be sending their best broodmares to Claiborne Farms in hopes of breeding a future Kentucky Derby winner.
Orb’s quick transition from active racing to ‘retirement’ is part of a recent trend for Kentucky Derby winners. Of the past 14 Kentucky Derby winners 9 have not raced beyond their three year old campaign. Note that Barbaro, who tragically broke down in the Preakness and eventually died, is included in that figure but even factoring him out that leaves 61% of Derby winners retiring before the start of their four year old campaign. That trend is significant and particularly in light of a growing number of lucrative stakes race opportunities for older horses.
The 2014 Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday afternoon at Louisville’s iconic Churchill Downs race track. It’s the first race of the Triple Crown series to be followed by the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.