Preakness 2013: Oxbow's Wire-to-Wire Win Shows Importance of Post Position

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IMay 19, 2013

May 19, 2012;Baltimore, MD, USA; A worker changes the numbers on the starting gate prior to race 7 at Pimlico Race Course.  Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Orb never had a chance to win the 2013 Preakness after getting pinned against the rail early from his No. 1 post. Instead, Oxbow took an early lead from the No. 6 post and never looked back. 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Oxbow was the 16th horse to win from the No. 6 post—the most wins from any post in the 138-year history of this prestigious race.

Conversely, the No. 1 post has been difficult to win from in recent history, according to David Grening of DRF:

Oxbow had a clear lane from the start of the race and took advantage of the favorable post.

By the time the field had hit the first turn, Oxbow was firmly in control of the race as veteran jockey Gary Stevens continued to urge his horse on.

Orb, on the other hand, found himself in trouble early in the race and couldn't maneuver out of it.

Here's a quick look at where every horse finished, courtesy of Bovada:


Pos. Horse Jockey Trainer Post
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 Claude 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


Starting the race on the rail, jockey Joel Rosario didn't want to get banged up and waited for the group to break up out of the starting game to push his horse. By the time Orb was able to get away from the rail, Oxbow had already built up a big lead.

At one point, Orb moved up into third place but was still jostling for position. By the time the field rounded the final turn, Orb was boxed in behind the leaders and Rosario had no way to improve his position.

Winning in wire-to-wire fashion is rare at the Preakness. Yahoo! Sports reported that Oxbow was the first horse in 31 years to accomplish the feat:

That said, it's easier to win a race without having to navigate through a pack. Orb's energy was wasted as Rosario attempted to weave his way through the tightly-packed nine-horse field, which led to a disappointing fourth-place finish.

Had the two horses swapped starting spots, the outcome of the race would have likely been far different. 

Sometimes losing is as simple to explain as the luck of the draw, which was certainly the case with Orb at the Preakness. 


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