The crowd of 112,222 who came out to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday for the Preakness Stakes were also treated to 8 rich stakes races on the undercard, 5 of them graded. Racing conditions were ideal, with sunny skies, temperatures in the mid 70's, and a light breeze, which served to dry the track from Friday's muddy rating to fast main track and good turf in time for Saturday's first race. Preakness day is the longest in American racing, with the first race post time at 10:30 AM and the last race, immediately after the Preakness, sent off at 7:15 PM.
A field of nine older horses went to post in the $250,000 Dixie Stakes (G2) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Shakis, sixth in the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland last out, was the 11-10 favorite over 9-2 Stay Close, winner of the Henry Clark at Pimlico, and 5-1 Distorted Reality, winner of an allowance at Aqueduct last out.
41-1 longshot Ra Der Dean set a dawdling pace of 26.36, 51.71, and 1:16.24 while stalked by Stay Close and 6-1 Salinja down the backstretch. Turning for home, 19-1 Pays to Dream, who had raced at the back of the field for seven furlongs on a ground-saving trip, found room on the inside to pass tiring horses, then switched to the outside to challenge for the lead. Pays to Dream took over the lead at the 3/16 pole and drew off through the stretch to win by 7 1/2 lengths over Stay Close in 1:54.74 over the good turf course. It was just a head back to pacesetter Ra Der Deen third, while favored Shakis was unhurried early but failed to rally, finishing fifth.
Full results chart from DRF
Pays to Dream in the winner's circle. Winning trainer David Donk said, "It was a soft course. I wasn't sure if he'd handle it or not. Horses with that style usually don't do that well when the turf is soft, but I was impressed. That was wonderful."
Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "I had a beautiful trip today, a dream trip. I took my time. The track is a little soft today. I had to follow the best horse in the race. I thought that was Shakis and Ramon Dominguez. I saved ground all the way around. Turning for home, I followed Ramon, but then I saw the hole and I went through because I had so much horse. He passed the others and went by them so easy. He really exploded. I liked the way he opened up on the field."
Second place finisher Stay Close just after the finish. His trainer Michael Zwiesler said, "I'm very pleased with his second race off a layoff. He ran great, he was up close. He just got outrun down the stretch. I'm going to give the horse some time off and explore options with Mr. (Will) Farish." Jockey Rosie Napravnik added, "This is such a nice horse. He's nice to ride as well. We got up close, settled nicely and he was very relaxed. He began to move up on his own and tried real hard, but the winner was much the best."
Third place finisher Ra Der Dean in the post parade. His trainer Edward Maher said, "He really didn't lose his action and seemed to be traveling OK at the end. A couple of other horses just ran better. You can't be too disappointed by an effort like that."
The $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G2) featured a field of 8 older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Bear Now, second in the Whimsical at Woodbine last out, was the 5-2 favorite over 3-1 second choice Buy the Barrel, winner of the Bayakoa at Oaklawn. Cicada winner Peach Flambe was the 7-2 third choice on the board.
Jockey Jamie Theriot sent favorite Bear Now to the lead right away and she set a pace of 24.21, 47.16, and 1:10.43 while being stalked by 11-1 Silver Knockers down the backstretch. Bear Now led the field into the stretch, but in the final furlong, Buy the Barrel, who had settled in third early, found another gear and ran by the pacesetters to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:42.43 over the fast track. Late-running 7-1 Lexi Star closed well to get second place by a nose over favorite Bear Now in third.
Full results chart from DRF
Buy the Barrel in the winner's circle. Her trainer Larry Jones said, "It's very special to win on a big day of racing, especially to be paired back up with Gabriel. It's bittersweet for us. It's good to be back on the winning side, and everything worked out the way it's supposed to. What we normally do in our program, our horses improve with age. At 2, we thought we had a really promising candidate, but she just needed to be brought around slowly. Thank goodness the owners knew that. Now she's 4 and we hope she's not even reached her peak yet. She'll be going to the Delaware Handicap next."
Winning jockey Gabriel Saez said, "I tried to stay behind the pace to the 3/8 pole and then make a move. She responded real good, obviously. It's very exciting to win a race like this. This is right up there behind the Kentucky Oaks."
Second place finisher Lexi Star in the post parade. Her trainer Chris Grove said, "Everything went according to plan. We wanted to be in the middle of the track for the run down the stretch, and that's where we were. I think for her it's going to be the further the better. She probably needs a mile and an eighth, and that's where she'll be headed in her next race." Jockey Jeremy Rose said, "That was a real nice race, and she made a real nice try. I had a good trip. We were outside of the winner, which is exactly where we planned to be. She ran her race."
Third place finisher Bear Now leads first time by. Her trainer Reade Baker said, "I had a gut feeling I didn't quite have her ready. She might have needed another start off the layoff." Jockey Jamie Theriot said, "She ran a big race coming off a layoff. I think she got a lot out of it."
The first stakes race on Preakness day is the $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) for older horses sprinting 6 furlongs on the main track. 6-5 favorite Cognac Kisses took over the lead after 3 furlongs and opened up a 2 length advantage in mid stretch after a half in 45.81, but 3-1 third choice Starforaday, fourth early, and 9-5 second choice Suave Jazz closed with a rush on the far outside. A three-horse photo finish ensued. Starforaday prevailed by a neck over Suave Jazz in second, by a neck over pacesetter and favorite Cognac Kisses third, in a time of 1:09.56.
Full results chart from DRF
Starforaday in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Gary Contessa said, "That's another walking advertisement for (glue-on) shoes. The same shoes Big Brown uses. He has terrible feet. The shoes have saved his career. The finish he has is amazing. When I saw the 23 second opening quarter, I didn't think he could close into that. That made this race all the more amazing."
Winning jockey Edgar Prado added, "There was a lot of speed and it seemed like everybody went. I was behind it. I was hoping they would come back to me and they did. It worked out beautiful."
Second place finisher Suave Jazz in the post parade.
The first turf race on the card was the $100,000 Gallorette Handicap (G3) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the "good" course. 20-1 longest shot Le Cordon Bleu opened up a 1 1/2 length lead and tried to slow the field through a pace of 25.41 and 50.28. However, 6-5 favorite Roshani, who had stalked her the whole way out wide, moved up to take over the lead near the end of the backstretch, getting 6 furlongs in 1:15.09. 6-1 shot Lady Digby, third early, put in a bid through the stretch but Roshani dug in and held her off by 1/2 a length for the victory in 1:49.08. It was a long 4 1/2 lengths back to 2-1 second choice Valbenny in third. There was both a steward's inquiry regarding the run into the first turn, as well as a claim of foul by Jeremy Rose aboard Lady Digby against winning rider John Velazquez for interference in the stretch, but the result was allowed to stand.
Full results chart from DRF
Roshani waits for the results of the objection and inquiry after the race. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "It unfolded pretty much the way we thought. We thought we could possibly be on the lead. It didn't look like there was a lot of early pace, but we were happy to follow (Le Cordon Bleu). It was pretty straight-forward. She's a very classy filly. She shows up and runs hard every time and is consistently good."
Jockey John Velazquez said, "It was a very good trip. The fractions were right. I was expecting (Le Cordon Bleu) to go to the lead. I sat right behind her and just started to wait for the last part of the race. Down the stretch I wanted to feel somebody right next to me, because she got to the lead and started completely looking at the crowd and started to slow down. So I moved out to the other horse, but I never interrupted her or touched her. I just moved close. They claimed foul, but I never touched her."
A field of 8 three-year-olds contested the $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (G3), a 6 furlong sprint on the main track. 2-1 second choice Force Freeze set a quick pace of 22.86 and 45.17. He continued to lead to the 1/8 pole, but 9-5 favorite Lantana Mob, who was unhurried in 6th early, closed relentlessly on the outside to win by a neck over 7-2 Silver Edition in 1:09.10. It was another length back to pacesetter Force Freeze in third. The time ties Northern Wolf's track record set in 1990.
Full results chart from DRF
Lantana Mob in the winner's circle. His co-owner Thomas Ludt said, "It was an impressive race. This horse ran on the eve of Breeders' Cup, ran well and came back and ran a nice race at Oaklawn. He came back today and ran a very impressive race. Someone told me that he tied the track record today, that's exciting."
Winning jockey Robby Albarado said, "They were going quick up front. We bided our time and let things unfold, just like (trainer) Steve Asmussen and I talked about. We didn't get by until three jumps from the wire but I knew I had him. He showed he had a big punch."
Only five 3-year-olds went to post in the $100,000 Barbaro Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. 2-1 second choice Da' Tara set the pace of 24.63, 47.80, and 1:10.79 saving ground on the rail while being stalked by 8-5 favorite Roman Emperor around the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch. Entering the stretch, Roman Emperor moved up to challenge, setting up a duel for the stretch. Roman Emperor pushed ahead by 1/2 a length at the 1/8 pole and held off the pacesetter in the final strides to prevail by 1/2 a length in a time of 1:42.10. It was a long 3 1/4 lengths back to 3-1 third choice Spurrier third.
Full results chart from DRF
Roman Emperor in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Steve Klesaris said, "The race went perfect for us. It was a little tight down the stretch, but it turned out perfectly. We're not sure where we're going to run next."
Winning jockey Jeremy Rose said, "They tried to slow it down a little bit in front of me. I got a hole to go in and moved out. I got up on that horse in the last part of the race and my horse was just faster than him."
In the $75,000 Old Mutual Turf Sprint, a field of 11 older horses sprinted 5 furlongs on the turf course. 9-5 favorite and last year's winner Heros Reward raced in fourth off the pace set by 29-1 Tommie's Star, then split horses at the top of the stretch, closing well to get up by a neck over 6-1 True to Tradition in 59.19 seconds over the good turf. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to 12-1 Blue Sailor in third. The jockeys aboard the 2nd and 3rd place finishers claimed interference against the winner but the result was allowed to stand.
Winning trainer Dale Capuano said, "That was a little nerve-wracking during the objection. I couldn't see anything from where I was standing. This horse is unbelievable. He ran a tremendous race today. I believe he is ahead of where he was last year. From here we're going to go to Woodbine for (the Scotts Highlander, June 22) and if all goes well, the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint."
Six older fillies and mares contested the $75,000 Skipat Stakes at 6 furlongs on the main track. 8-1 My Sister Sue was allowed an uncontested lead of as many as 4 lengths through a quarter in 22.23 and a half in 44.27. However, through the stretch, 2-1 favorite Akronism, who sat back in 2nd early, closed with a rush to get up by a neck in 1:09.76. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to late-running 6-1 Acinonyx in third.
Winning trainer Tim Ritchey said, "She got knocked around a good bit early on. I didn't know at the point what to think of her chances, but she made the most of the stretch with a very impressive outing. This horse has a whole lot of heart."
Winning jockey Pablo Morales said, "As usual, she broke a little slow. She definitely does not like pressure from the outside, so she reacted to that and didn't like that at all. When we came into the stretch, I saw (My Sister Sue) in front of us, I asked her and she started to give me a big, big run. I know that the stretch is very long here, so I kept going with her."
Full results chart from DRF
Triple Crown quick links:
Oxbow upsets in the Preakness - Oxbow led the entire way in the Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Pimlico with Itsmyluckyday second and Mylute third. Heavy favorite Orb made a mild move to finish fourth. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Preakness undercard stakes results - There were 7 other stakes on the card, highlighted by the Dixie Stakes (G2) won by Skyring and the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) won by Summer Applause. Get the results, charts, and photos for 6 of the races here.
Fiftyshadesofhay wins the Black-Eyed Susan - Fiftyshadesofhay just got up to win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday at Pimlico by a neck over Marathon Lady with favorite Emollient 6th. On the undercard, Last Gunfighter won the Pimlico Special (G3). Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Analyzing the Preakness Stakes Contenders for 2013 - My annual analysis using popular angles and statistical trends to see who best matches the profile of a Preakness winner. The big surprise is that Kentucky Derby winner Orb is not in the top group!
Orb wins the Kentucky Derby - Orb was far back early but took the lead in the stretch and drew off to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 2 1/2 lengths over longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
More Kentucky Derby Photos - More photos from the day including more of Orb, the trophy, the roses, Martina McBride, and lots of mud.
Kentucky Derby undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Derby day including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) won by 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan and the Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) won by Aubby K. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Princess of Sylmar upsets in the Kentucky Oaks - She rallied from far back to win the Kentucky Oaks by a half length over Beholder and Unlimited Budget, while favorite Dreaming of Julia was fourth. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Kentucky Oaks undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Oaks day including the La Troienne Stakes (G2) won by Authenticity and the Alysheba Stakes (G3) won by Take Charge Indy. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Kentucky Oaks Entries - A field of 11 fillies will go, with Gulfstream Oaks winner Dreaming of Julia favorite at 3-1 from post 8. Get the post positions, odds, and free past performances here.
Top Kentucky Derby Contenders - my list of the top horses headed to the Derby with profiles for each with photos, stats, and link to more info like past performances and pedigree.
Analyzing the top 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders - My annual analysis of the top contenders to try and select a winner by matching each to the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner using many of the more popular angles and statistical trends. This year there were is a 3-way tie for the top spot: Goldencents, Normandy Invasion, and Overanalyze.
2013 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules will be enforced this year. Be sure to read the rules as many have changed and more things are banned. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Review: Triple Crown Handicapper 2013 - by Jim Mazur. Includes lots of stats for all 3 races and explains how to use a system of statistically derived negative angles to eliminate the "bad" picks.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.