Kentucky Derby winner has Maryland ties

FALLSTON, Md. -  

Orb was so far back out the gate, it was almost improbable; then with a half mile left, like a proud father looking for his son on the field, Mike Pons zeros in.

"And I'm looking and then as they come into the stretch I see the folks on the outside and I am certain it's him.  But the track announcer is not calling him, but he's coming a house of fire."

Almost knowing Orb was saving his last move for the final stretch; a strong and impressive maneuver not unlike his sire Malibu Moon, a stallion that got his start at the Country Life Farm in Bel Air.

Mike Pons and his brother Josh brought the stallion along here for four years before moving him to Kentucky.

Kentucky is where he would sire Orb, but his blood lines are uniquely Maryland creating an unforgettable moment for Pons at Churchill Downs.

"It was just one of those special moments that you want to put in a bottle.  I couldn't wait all day to post time and then afterwards I wanted to stop it, just freeze that moment because it was so much fun."

Because having any real connection to a derby winner is extremely rare in this business, one the Pons have been in since 1933.

While Orb's father Malibu Moon is now on a farm in Kentucky, Josh and Mike still own 25 percent of him, now sitting back astonished at the fruits of their labor.

"Yeah it was pretty powerful, yeah.  You were jumping out of your skin...it just doesn't happen.  Local farm owned sire of Kentucky Derby winner, that's a pretty improbably story line," said Josh Pons.

The Triple Crown is equally improbable but the next stop for Orb will be to return to the roots of his father for a run at the Preakness.

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