When the field turned for home on the cool, overcast afternoon at Churchill Downs, Normandy Invasion grabbed the lead while Orb was gearing up. But in the deep stretch, Orb prevailed, carrying Joel Rosario to his first Derby win.
Long shot Golden Soul placed second with Revolutionary coming in third.
Normandy Invasion faded to fourth.
Orb, the 5-1 favorite, ran the 1¼ miles in 2:02.89
Goldencents, owned in part by Rick Pitino, coach of Louisville's national basketball champions, finished a 17th. His jockey, Kevin Krigger, was trying to become the first black rider to win the race since 1902.
Rosie Napravnik was also bidding to make history as the first woman jockey to win the world's biggest horse race. She finished sixth aboard Mylute, the highest finish by a female rider. Two years ago she placed ninth in the Derby.