(USA TODAY) -- Splattered with mud, Orb rallied down the stretch to give Shug McGaughey, a native Kentuckian, Hall of Fame trainer and sentimental favorite in his home state, his first victory in the Kentucky Derby Saturday in the rain-soaked 139th running of the Triple Crown opener in "sloppy" conditions at Churchill Downs.
McGaughey, 62, had been 0-6 in Derby starts. But Orb, a 3-year-old bay colt whose named was inspired by his father, Malibu Moon, earned the blanket of roses when he bested runner-up Golden Soul with a rally down the stretch.
Orb won by 2 1/2 lengths in a time of 2:02.89. Revolutionary was third, followed by Normandy Invasion and Mylute.
Mylute was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, bidding to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. Her fifth place was the best in the Derby by a female jockey, surpassing the previous high mark of ninth place she set in 2011 on Pants On Fire.
McGaughey was overwhelmed by his victory in his first appearance in the Run for the Roses since 2002, before a crowd of 151,616 at Churchill Downs, the ninth largest in history, but down from last year's record 165,307.
"It means everything to me. I've always dreamed of this day and it finally came," McGaughey said. "I'm thrilled for the people who put in so much time on this horse, and of course I'm thrilled for me."
It was the the fifth consecutive win for Orb, who opened as the morning line favorite earlier this week and went off at the 6-1 co-favorite with Revolutionary, who finished third. The win was worth $1,240,000 for Orb's connections. Orb is owned by Dinny Phipps and Stuart Janney II.
Joel Rosario, the hottest jockey in North America in recent months, was the winning rider.
"It's awesome," said Rosario, whose silks were covered with mud. "I won the $10 million Dubai World Cup, and to win the Derby now it's like a dream. I'm so happy for Shug McGaughey.''
Orb started out in the back of the pack as Palace Malice led a hot pace.
"I was so far behind. I just let him be calm and relaxed, and he was able to do it," said Rosario. "He was very relaxed and did exactly what I wanted. It was a perfect trip.
"He showed today he's the man."
McGaughey, who narrowly lost the Derby in 1989 with Easy Goer, said Orb's development this past winter surprised him.
"We took him to Florida this winter, and we didn't think we'd be here," McGaughey said. "But he kept coming, kept coming. We couldn't believe what we were seeing."
The race was run 40 years after the historic 1973 win by Secretariat in a record winning time of 1:59 2/5. Secretariat, of course, went on to win the Triple Crown.
The Triple Crown series now moves on to the May 18 Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, followed by the June 9 Belmont Stakes in New York. No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.
The Derby had a maximum 20-horse field, but it was reduced to 19 Friday morning when Black Onyx, 50-1 on the morning line, was scratched due to a chipped bone in his front left ankle. Black Onyx had been in the No.1 position in the starting gate, which was left open for the Derby.
The scratch came too late for alternate Fear the Kitten to get into the race. Fear the Kitten had been 21st in the new point standings used to determine this year's qualifiers. The deadline for him to get in the race was 9 a.m. Friday.
Rain fell steadily Saturday afternoon during the undercard. The downpour had many women scrambling to cover their fancy Kentucky Derby hats with plastic. But some younger fans body-surfed on the muddy infield.
Among the many celebrities in attendance were quarterback Robert Griffin III of the NFL's Washington Redskins, former NBA stars Scottie Pippen and Julius "Dr. J." Irving, former major league baseball player Ken Griffey Jr., former NFL quarterback Warren Moon, entertainer Joey Fatone (N Sync) and actress Jane Seymour.
Fans, employees and media entering Churchill Downs were subject to increased security in the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. New measures included bans on coolers and large purses.