On a picture perfect afternoon at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., Lookin at Lucky was finally able to get a clean trip and roared home to capture the 135th running of the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Preakness Stakes by just under a length.
With Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver finishing far back in eighth place, the Triple Crown will go unclaimed for the 32nd straight year.
“This means a lot for me. I want to say thank you to all the connections and (trainer) Bob Baffert who gave me the opportunity to ride this beautiful animal,” said Lookin at Lucky’s 25-year old jockey Martin Garcia, who was making just his second start in a Triple Crown race. “The point was to try and get out of trouble. He broke really good. Baffert told me to try and save ground in the first turn and then after that do whatever you want.”
In both the Kentucky and Santa Anita Derby, Lookin at Lucky lost all chance at victory after getting roughed up and steadied, prompting Baffert, who has won with over 30% of his starters with Garcia aboard, to switch riders in hopes of changing his fortunes. After jockey Garret Gomez rode Lucky in his first nine career starts, Garcia, who had frequently excercised the horse in the mornings, took over today.
“I don’t think it was Gomez’ fault what happened before. With Garcia, we’ve been clicking and winning and he’s been on the horse more than anyone else,” Baffert said after winning the Preakness for the fifth time. “When he turns for home he can really finish. I think he’s so young he doesn’t realize the magnitude of this race.”
Super Saver was placed in an ideal stalking position just off early pace-setter First Dude, but had nothing left when the horses turned for home.
“He had a perfect trip. I wouldn’t have changed it for nothing in the world,” said Super Saver’s jockey Calvin Borel. “He just come up a little empty. He ran so hard in the Derby. He’s not a big horse, but when you win the Derby you have to go for the three legs. He’s a good horse and we’ll have fun with him in the future."
First Dude, under jockey Ramon Dominguez, battled valiantly down the stretch to hold on for second place as the third longest shot on the board at 23-to-1.
Jackson Bend went off at 11-to-1 and finished a nose behind First Dude in third under jockey Mike Smith, while Yawanna Twist and Edgar Prado were another length back, rounding out the superfecta at 16-to-1.
Dublin ran on to finish in fifth place after breaking outward from the outside post No. 12 and spotting the field about five lengths. It was yet another eventful and unfortunate trip for jockey Garrett Gomez.
Before the gates opened, the race for betting favoritism went down to the wire between Super Saver and Lookin at Lucky. Super Saver ended up going off favored at 9-to-5 with $3,472,187 bet on him to win. Lucky was 2-to-1 with $2,977,897 wagered.
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