Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 5/20/13
15-1 shot Oxbow went right to the early lead, when no-one else appeared to want it, set pedestrian like early fraction, and although clearing tiring in the final sixteenth of a mile, held on to win the second jewel of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown, the 2013 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland, this past Saturday 3/5 betting favorite Orb, made a mild bid at about the three eighths pole and another meager run in deep stretch, but both weren’t nearly the run he needed and he wound up struggling home fourth. Oxbow broke well from post 6 and, after a very brief hesitation, was sent to the lead by jockey Gary Stephens and opened up about a two lengths over Goldencents.  Titletown Five was third, and Itsmyluckyday was fourth early on. Oxbow ran the first quarter-mile in :23.4 and the half-mile in :48.3; and for all intensive purposes I knew the race was over. Especially when at that point you could see that Derby winner Orb was struggling. By that time, Oxbow was long gone as he opened a up three length lead after cruising through six furlongs in very slow 1:13.1 As they turn for home Itsmyluckyday gradually gained ground on the outside as Goldencents and Titletown Five began to tire and drop back after a mile in 1:38 flat. Mylute began to close ground…in fact, other than the winner, Mylute was the only horse who looked like he was running and wasn’t completely exhausted. Oxbow held a three length lead just past the sixteenth pole before he began to shorten stride. But by then it was too late and he held sway to win by almost two. Complete (and Official) Order of Finish. 1) Oxbow- literally stole the race…. He went to the front and lulled the field to sleep with slow early fractions and had enough left at the end to hold on for the win. He notched just his third career win in 11 starts. “He didn’t get a lot of respect even after his great performance (in the Derby),” said winning jockey Gary Stevens. “We came back and breezed him (May 12), and what you saw (in the Preakness) is exactly how he acted in the workout”. “We came in here with a lot of confidence,” added Stevens after his third Preakness win. “When I hit the half-mile pole, I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Is this happening?’ The race was over at that point. I just walked the dog to the half-mile pole.” “I think I got a Hall of Fame ride,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas. “Once the gate opens, they have to make decisions. I’m happy for Gary, and I’m happier for (Calumet owner Brad Kelley), who is trying to revive Calumet. It’s very gratifying”. “As I was saying earlier, I get paid to spoil dreams. You can’t mail it (the big races) in. It’s a different surface and a different time. You gotta line them up and run them.” Indeed Mr. Lukas, that’s why they run the races on the track and not on paper. Lukas said he plans to move on to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks with Oxbow.     2) Itsmyluckyday- bounced back and ran very well in the Preakness as I suspected he might. He got hung four wide on the first turn yet still came will a nice (wide) run on the turn for home and, like the winner, seemed to flatten out (tire)in the last furlong. Overall, I thought he ran very well. Trainer Ed Plesa Jr. said he came out of the Preakness “10-plus on a one to 10 scale”” “I wouldn’t take anything away from Wayne’s horse, but they went the half in 48-and-change. That’s pretty much walking. Did that help his horse? Absolutely. Did it hurt my horse? Absolutely,” Plesa said. “I won’t say anything other than: ‘I wish the pace would have been quicker.’” Plesa said a start in the Belmont Stakes is “far from a definite” and that it’s “50-50 at best,” he said. Itsmyluckyday is likely to run in the Haskell Invitational at MonmouthPark (July 28.) “The Haskell is on my list. God willing, that’s a certainty,” Plesa said.   3) Mylute- was last after the first half mile but he too went wide on the turn for home and made up some eight lengths to get beat a little over two lengths. I thought this horse ran very well too and I look forward to seeing more of him down the road. Trainer Thomas Amoss said Mylute  ”ran the best race of his career” on Saturday . “The slow pace was impossible for us to overcome and yet he still ran a very good race. I don’t know where the rest of the speed went in yesterday’s Preakness. It looked like there was quite a bit on paper, but it just didn’t materialize.” Amoss said he think his colt has “earned a little bit of time off”. “As far as future plans, nothing is on the board right now,” he said. “I’ll get together with the owners at the beginning of the week and we’ll discuss what to do. He’s had two races close together and I think that’s going to be taken into account when we have that conversation.” Amoss also tipped his hat to the wining combination of Lukas and Stevens, who combined are 127 years old. “It was a masterful job,” Amoss said. “As far as Wayne is concerned, you’ve got to tip your hat to him. Over the last year he’s made a remarkable comeback and put himself where he used to be, which is at the top of the trainers’ charts.”   4) Orb- didn’t run his race at all. He could just tell as soon as the gates opened. First off, he didn’t break all that well and you could just see him struggling after they left the half mile pole. He began to drop back at that point, made a mild move then lost more ground on the turn for home and then passed two horses very late to finish fourth. “I think he just got himself in a position (closer to the pace than normal and in tight between two other rivals) where he wasn’t comfortable, and then without (a good) pace in front of him, they really spread out a little more than maybe I had hoped,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “That probably affected him more than anything else.” Jockey Joel Rosario said Orb “had a hard time keeping up” at the half-mile pole. “I used my stick to try to get him going,” the white hot jockey said. “He usually takes you there and always runs hard, but today he never took off. He just steadied. Today was not his day.”  Orb boarded a van bound for New York at 7 a.m. Sunday morning evidently in good physical condition. “He came out of it fine. He’s sound. Physically, everything is fine,” McGaughey said. “We’ll get him up the road and evaluate the situation to see where we’ll go.” McGaughey said he really didn’t have an explanation for Orb’s dull performance. “The racetrack was probably deep down the inside there. There was a lot of throwback. We couldn’t get to the outside, I thought he was in good position and (jockey Joel Rosario) took him to the right position, and all of a sudden he had no horse. Why that was, I don’t know. I think it wasn’t our day and it was Oxbow’s day.”     5) Goldencents- disappointed once again from what I could see. He was content to secured a stalking (second position) early in the race but just didn’t go on when the real running started and is another who clearly looked tired down the stretch. Goldencents departed early Sunday morning for Southern California and will definitely not be running in the Belmont Stakes “It doesn’t make sense to go on to the Belmont,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “We had talked prior (to the Preakness) that if we didn’t run huge and came out of it great, we wouldn’t come back in three weeks. Even though I’m very proud of him and the way Kevin (Krigger) rode him, I just don’t think coming back in three weeks off that effort is the right move.” Goldencents, who was 17th in the Derby, was just flat outrun by with Oxbow, O’Neill admitted. “We’ll relax and see what’s in the cards five, six, seven weeks down the road,” O’Neill said. “You’ve got the 3-year-old series on the turf down at Del Mar, so we could possibly try a different surface with him. “Or we could go over him good, train him out there, and then look for races like the Haskell or Travers somewhere down the road. We’ll huddle up with the owners and put together a game plan. He’s a good horse. You’ll be hearing from him.”     6) Departing- was in a good position early on as he rated back in fifth and sixth down the back side. He moved to the rail for the stretch run but just didn’t show that enormous late kick he has. He just kind of galloped home with no real force. Departing left early Sunday morning for Kentucky “He’s (physically) fine, but he cooled out very tired,” trainer Al Stall said. Stall added that Departing would “definitely not” be participating in the Belmont Stakes.     7) Will Take Charge – never really was a factor in the race as he never got closer than seventh position at any point in the race. He wound up finishing seventh and was beaten 10 lengths. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he “might” run back in the Belmont Stakes on June 8.   8) Govenor Charlie- had a horrendous first half mile or so including being hung five wide on the first turn. He did begin to make up ground leaving the half mile pole but just completely spit out the bit and retreated from that point on. He was beaten some 26 lengths.   9) Titletown Five – not sure why Lukas even entered him in this race…honestly, he had no business being in there. He did show some early speed (third in the early going), but he absolutely collapsed just inside the quarter pole and was eased late by Julien Leparoux. He finished almost 50 lengths behind Oxbow. Lukas said that this colt would be “pointed towards shorter distance races from now on” Thanks for reading To receive an email each time a new Horse Racing article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form                  

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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