PREAKNESS STAKES (Grade 1)
Pimlico, Dirt, 9.5 Furlongs
18 May 2013
A Triple Crown will have to wait yet another year after Calumet Farm’s Oxbow (Awesome Again) gave Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas - age 77 - a sixth win and fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens - age 50 and a handful of months removed from a seven year retirement - a third victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Old Hilltop in Baltimore. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) looked a danger in deep stretch before settling for second, while Mylute (Midnight Lute) came from the back of the pack to be third.
GI Kentucky Derby hero Orb (Malibu Moon) was sent off at prohibitive odds of 3-5 to take this middle jewel, but raced in a bit of traffic and closer to the pace than is his custom on the back stretch and only a belated rally carried him into fourth.
In the capable hands of Gary Stevens, whose two previous Preakness wins came for Bob Baffert (Silver Charm, 1997 and Point Given, 2001), Oxbow was given rein and edged past Goldencents (Into Mischief) to lead with a circuit to travel, while Itsmyluckyday and Titletown Five (Tiznow) were the next-closest pursuers. Orb and GIII Illinois Derby hero Departing (War Front) raced as a team further back, while Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute), Will Take Charge and Mylute comprised the latter third of the field into the clubhouse turn.
Oxbow traveled sweetly turning up the backstretch and there were no real deltas until Joel Rosario guided Orb off the inside and into the two path to launch a middle move between Titletown Five and Itsmyluckyday that carried him to within two lengths of the pacesetter nearing the half-mile pole. But Titletown Five countered up the fence and Departing ranged up to his outside, and all at once, Orb was relegated to sixth and was sending out distress signals as he was niggled along by Rosario. Back at the head of affairs, Stevens was a mere passenger as Oxbow took them around the final turn after breezing the opening six furlongs in 1:13.26, and, surprisingly, his host of pursuers did not include the Derby winner.
Itsmyluckyday, three or four wide the whole journey, took aim from the outside and Departing appeared dangerous for a stride or two in upper stretch, but Oxbow had managed to conserve enough energy for that crucial final furlong and stayed on well for the win. Itsmyluckyday was a gallant second ahead of Mylute, who validated his fifth in the Derby with another creditable effort.
Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News