Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas picked up his record sixth Preakness Stakes win when Oxbow, under the guidance of Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, stormed home to take the $1 million Grade 1 event at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The 15-1 longshot son of Awesome Again took the early lead, set a moderate pace, and never looked back, finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of Itsmyluckyday. Mylute was a half-length back, with the favorite Orb nearly seven lengths behind in fourth.
“We talked about strategy and I didn’t expect to be on the lead,” said Stevens. “In these Classic races you don’t give up anything you get for free. They gave me a free three-quarters of a mile today. I was smiling pretty good midway down the backside. I actually thought about Wayne (Lukas) up in the grandstand. I knew he would be looking at those fractions and be pleased with what he was seeing.”
Oxbow, owned by the legendary Calumet Farm, won the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes in January, finished fourth in the Grade 2 Risen Star in February, lost a head to Will Take Charge in the Grade 2 Rebel in March, and was fifth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in April, prior to his sixth-place Kentucky Derby finish two weeks ago.
“What a story this is,” said Lukas. “I’m happy for Gary (Stevens) and I’m just so happy for Mr. (Brad) Kelley (owner of Calumet Farm). He’s trying to revitalize Calumet, and now Calumet is back in a Classic race. That’s just very gratifying. It’s been a while (Charismatic, 1999), but it never gets old. I have great respect for the Phipps family and Shug (McGaughey), but I was telling one of your colleagues that I get paid to spoil dreams.”
Claude “Shug” McGaughey, III’s Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, broke from the rail and was unable to get into proper position. Down the backstretch, it appeared Orb steadied once, losing momentum. He was unable to catch the field with his late driving kick as he did two weeks earlier in the Kentucky Derby.
“The pace was slower than I anticipated,” said McGaughey. “I thought the pace would be quicker. I thought maybe they would speed it up a little bit but they didn’t. I still thought we would close into it, but it just wasn’t his day. He was just never real comfortable once he got down in there. I’m disappointed. I’ll probably be way more disappointed tomorrow but I know the game. It is highs and lows, probably more lows than highs. We had a great run two weeks ago. My hat’s off to Wayne to win his sixth Preakness. That’s pretty remarkable.”
McGaughey said he would monitor Orb and discuss with owners, Stuart Janney and Dinny Phipps, the possibility of taking the Kentucky Derby winner to the Belmont Stakes June 8. Lukas confirmed that Preakness winner Oxbow will attempt the 1 ½ mile route in New York.
Oxbow returned $32.80, $12.00, and $6.80. Itsmyluckyday paid $7.80 and $5.00 and completed the $2 exacta for $301.40. Mylute paid $5.20 and completed the $2 trifecta for $2,061.60. Orb completed the $1 superfecta for $1,817.80. The final time for the 1 3/16 mile race over the fast dirt was 1:57:54. Click here to watch a replay of the Preakness Stakes.
Photo: Preakness.com/Jim McCue/MJC