Thoroughbred racing fans have been waiting for a Triple Crown winner for 35 years. They’ll have to wait at least another year, though, as Kentucky Derby winner Orb faltered at the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes. Long shot Oxbow took advantage with a wire-to-wire victory and a place in the history books, earning the Black-Eyed Susan Blanket and the largest chunk of the $1 million purse.
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt entered the race as a 14-1 long shot (via NBC telecast at post time), but jockey Gary Stevens got a tremendous start from Oxbow out of the gate, assuming the immediate lead and holding it to the finish.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Oxbow was the first Preakness winner in 31 years to go wire-to-wire for the victory.
While Oxbow was certainly impressive, Orb’s fourth-place finish was equally shocking.
The Shug McGaughey-trained colt was a heavy favorite to triumph at Pimlico—even after drawing the No. 1 post—but positioning along the rail ultimately proved to be Orb’s undoing.
|1||Oxbow||D. Wayne Lukas||Gary Stevens||$620,000||
|2||Itsmyluckyday||Eddie Plesa Jr.||John Velazquez||$200,000||
|3||Mylute||Tom Amoss||Rosie Napravnik||$100,000||$5.20 (show)|
|4||Orb||Shug McGaughey||Joel Rosario||$50,000|
|5||Goldencents||Doug O’Neill||Kevin Krigger||$30,000|
|6||Departing||Albert M. Stall Jr.||Brian Hernandez Jr.||$0|
|7||Will Take Charge||D. Wayne Lukas||Mike Smith||$0|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||$0|
|9||Titletown Five||D. Wayne Lukas|| |
*Payouts based on $2 bet. Via America's Best Racing on Twitter.
*$1 million purse
The Triple Crown hopeful struggled next to the rail, unable to secure better positioning among a cluster of challengers on the inside. He was never able to break free of the group without an opening to make a push, effectively eliminating Orb’s best running style.
Arguably the best late closer in the field, Orb needed a lane to open up in the second half. He did manage to get within three lengths of the lead prior to the halfway point, but was quickly sucked back into the middle of the pack and out of contention as Oxbow pulled away.
Itsmyluckyday rumbled from the outside post to secure a second-place finish in the race. One of the fastest pure sprinters in the field, the Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt was able to elude pressure from his starting position and break free behind Oxbow, finishing just three lengths behind the Preakness winner.
Itsmyluckyday was a popular long shot to contend for the Black-Eyed Susan Blanket, due in part to his ability to run from any post position. With a blend of tactical speed and endurance, the Holy Bull Stakes winner displayed that versatility from the No. 9 post and proved his 15th-place finish at the Kentucky Derby was a fluke.
Mylute rounded out the top three with a strong showing at Pimlico. Rosie Napravnik didn’t become the first female jockey to win the Preakness, but her efforts aboard Mylute can’t be overlooked. The pair earned a $100,000 payday for Gold Mark Farm and a third-place finish for trainer Tom Amoss.
With the win, Oxbow now becomes one of the favorites to secure the final leg of the Triple Crown at Belmont on June 8. The Triple Crown is safe for another year, but Orb and Oxbow will be in good position to battle it out for the final jewel should they both compete.
*Official odds from NBC telecast. Final odds can also be found at Bovada.lv.