Oxbow raced out to first place right out of the gates, and he held off a late charge down the stretch to win the 2013 Preakness Stakes. The colt won by one-and-three-quarters lengths on Saturday at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course.
Itsmyluckyday and Mylute finished second and third, respectively.
Despite maximum effort from Oxbow's closest competitors near the finish, they could never quite catch him. He also thwarted prohibitive favorite Orb's chances at capturing the Triple Crown.
Below are the full race results:
|1||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||6|
|2||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.||9|
|3||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||5|
|4||Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||1|
|5||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O’Neill||2|
|6||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr||Albert M. Stall, Jr||4|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||7|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||8|
|9||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux||D. Wayne Lukas||3|
The No. 6 starting post continued to be magical for Gary Stevens and Oxbow, as ESPN Stats & Info highlighted after the wire-to-wire triumph:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Oxbow wins Preakness from the No. 6 post position. The No. 6 horse has won the Preakness 16 times, the most of any post position.5/18/2013, 10:26:48 PM
Leading the Preakness the entire time is an extremely rare and impressive achievement, as Yahoo! Sports points out:
Yahoo Sports @YahooSports
And Oxbow becomes the first wire-to-wire winner at the #Preakness in 31 years! #Orb disappointingly finishes out of the money.5/18/2013, 10:26:05 PM
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas won his sixth career Preakness, and he set an all-time record with his 14th Triple Crown victory. Lukas is known for entering long shots into races, and fittingly it was the least likely of his three entries that gave him his most recent win.
Stevens set a moderate pace in the beginning, and he confidently pushed his speedy colt further when he saw no one seriously challenging.
Another Hall of Fame jockey in John Velazquez attempted a late charge down the final stretch, but it ultimately wasn't enough.
Rosie Napravnik was attempting to become the first female jockey to win the Preakness at the track she began her career at. Unfortunately, she got jumbled on the straightaway, and she needed to split too far to the outside.
There wasn't much suspense for Orb. He encountered traffic issues starting at post No. 1, and he recovered too late, ultimately finishing in fourth.
Orb's trainer, Shug McGaughey, was surprised that Rosario wasn't able to swing to the outside earlier on, and thought his Churchill Downs winner would run better (h/t USA Today's Mike Kane):
I thought [Orb] would run his race today. I don't really know why he didn't run better, except that he was sort of crammed down in on the inside the whole way. I saw Joel going around the turn and trying to ease out and obviously he could never get him there. When he started making that run, I thought, "Well, he must be a little more comfortable down there than he looks to me." Obviously, he wasn't.
Here is the payout listing for the top three horses:
|Mylute ||— ||— ||$5.20|
Exacta: (6-9) paid $301.40; Trifecta: (6-9-5) paid $2,061.40; $1 Superfecta: (6-9-5-1) paid $1,817.80.
The Preakness was a thrilling showcase, and it was a tour de force performance by Stevens. The 50-year-old jockey retired for seven years before saddling up with Oxbow in the Kentucky Derby, where he ran to a sixth-place effort.
That was preceded by a fifth-place effort at the Arkansas Derby, which caused Oxbow to enter the Preakness somewhat under the radar.
However, as Oxbow's Twitter page noted after the victory, betting against the Hall of Fame combination of Stevens and Lukas is a dangerous proposition:
Never bet down a horse trained by The Coach with Gary Stevens in the saddle! #legends5/19/2013, 7:11:06 PM
Before the race, Stevens indicated to NBC's Bob Costas that he was inspired by fellow aging jockey Mike Smith's success during his hiatus from horse racing. Stevens' return was clearly worth it, as he won his third Preakness Stakes and captured the coveted Woodlawn Vase.
Stephen Panus logged a clever comment Lukas made after the race, when he clearly had no sympathy over Orb's potential bid for horse racing's ultimate honor:
Stephen Panus @Man_o_PR
"I get paid to spoil dreams" - D Wayne Lukas, Trainer #Oxbow http://t.co/GTlfqLHx145/18/2013, 10:50:36 PM
While some wind may be sucked out of June 8's Belmont Stakes, Lukas and Stevens don't mind. They've simply fortified their status among the best trainers and jockeys of all time.
Note: Statistics, odds and prior results, unless otherwise indicated, are courtesy of Preakness.com.