Oxbow has stunned the field to take out the 2013 Preakness Stakes ahead of Itsmyluckyday and Mylute, with pre-race favorite Orb finishing in fourth spot.
Trained by the legendary D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, Oxbow came into the race as one of the outsiders of the nine-horse field.
However, after he was able to get to the front and set the pace, the star colt had a commanding lead coming into the home stretch and proved too strong over the final furlong for the chasing field to reel him in.
Read on to see the biggest lessons learned from a thrilling run at Pimlico.
Orb's Biggest Problem Was Not the No. 1 Post
Having dominated the field at the 2013 Kentucky Derby, the general consensus was that Orb was going to do the same again at the Preakness Stakes.
He received a slight hitch when drawn closest to the rail in the No. 1 post, but even then, it was still assumed he would win here. After all, given the form that Joel Rosario was in and the sprinting pedigree existent in Orb, it wasn't going to really matter what post position he found himself in.
And whilst it might not seem like it given he didn't even finish inside the top three this year, the reality was that the No. 1 post was not the biggest problem for Orb.
Rosario was able to drop back in the field and work his way up behind the leaders around the halfway mark of the track, and he was seemingly poised in a great position.
And then he was just squeezed a little by Titletown Five when Oxbow started to pick the pace up. Not by much, but by enough that he was forced to lose stride and dropped several lengths on the leaders—which he was never going to be able to make up over the shorter home straight.
He ran on gallantly to finish in fourth—perhaps showing just how strong a sprinter he really is—but it was still a huge disappointment for the pre-race favorite.
Orb simply got stuck in traffic when he thought he had a clear running lane, and that's what proved to be his undoing—not being drawn in the No. 1 post.
The Smaller Field Made It Easy Going in Front
According to Yahoo! Sports, Oxbow's victory here was the first wire-to-wire win at the Preakness Stakes in over three decades of racing.
Which, given how easy Gary Stevens and Oxbow found it in front here, might seem like somewhat of a surprise to many people.
However, it must be noted here that the smaller field (just nine horses in this one) made it very easy going in front and meant the race suited the front-runners.
Oxbow was able to find the lead heading into the first turn and was then able to drop the speed significantly. It was nothing like the frenetic pace that Palace Malice set at the Kentucky Derby—which suited those horses at the back of the field—and Oxbow was therefore able to come into the home straight with a strong lead and plenty left to give.
There were runs that came from the back—notably that of Mylute and Orb—but they were never going to be able to gun down Oxbow over the final part of the race. The field allowed him to get away with such an easy pace here, and they paid the ultimate price as a result of that.
Another Strong, but Frustrating, Run for Mylute
Having chalked up a strong run at Churchill Downs earlier this month, Mylute again showcased just how strong of a runner he is with a great performance here.
Rosie Napravnik waited patiently at the back of the field for a great deal in this race and made her move perfectly as they approached the home straight—quickly passing through a number of horses in traffic and was seemingly poised to launch a huge challenge at Oxbow down the stretch.
However, Mylute would again finish there-but-not-quite in third position.
He was forced to run a little wide as they circled for the finishing post, and he just had to check his run a little bit as Itsmyluckyday pushed outside of Goldencents. That forced him to run off stride for a length or two, and he was never able to recover.
Mylute still finished with a strong run in third position that was quickly closing in on the second-placed Goldencents, and connections must be happy with another good result. However, there's little doubting that they—along with Napravnik—would love to take the next step and finish with a win, something which they will look to do at the Belmont Stakes in two weeks' time.
The Wait for a Triple Crown Lives On
But perhaps the biggest talking point to come out of the Preakness Stakes was not the thrilling upset of Oxbow's win, but the fact the wait for a Triple Crown winner must wait for at least another year.
Orb appeared like one of the best chances in recent history to achieve the illustrious three-race title with his strong showing at Churchill Downs, but that is all out of the equation now after a frustrating and disappointing run at the Pimlico Race Course.
All attention will now turn on the third jewel of the Triple Crown—the Belmont Stakes.
And whilst the chance to create history might not be available, it'll still no doubt be a thrilling race as the best horses in the country at the moment square off for one of racing's most illustrious events.
Who knows? Maybe next year will be the year for a Triple Crown champion. After all, we've already waited long enough, so what's enough 12 months on top of that?
2013 Preakness Stakes: Full 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|
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