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Jockey Kent Desormeaux and Parading enter the winner's circle after the Dixie Stakes on the 2009 Preakness undercard.
The 77,850 fans on hand at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes were treated to a marathon 13-race card of racing with the first race off at 10:15as Eastern time. Alternating sun and clouds were the order of the day, with temperatures topping out at 78, but no rainfall until just before the Preakness itself.
A field of 11 older horses competed in the $150,000 Dixie Stakes (G2) over 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Parading was sent off as the 2-1 favorite exiting a 7 1/2 length win in the Ben Ali at Keeneland last out. In to challenge him included 4-1 second choice Strike a Deal, winner of the Red Smith at Aqueduct, and 5-1 Kiss the Kid, winner of the Appleton at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Andrasch Starke sent 17-1 Lauro to the lead, getting early fractions of 24.64, 48.75, and 1:12.42 over the firm course taking a ground-saving path while as many as 2 lengths ahead of 41-1 Senior. Entering the stretch, Lauro tired as Parading, who stalked the pace in fourth, moved up to take over the lead through 1 mile in 1:36.34. 9-1 Just as Well, who was ninth early, put in a strong late rally but Parading held him off in the final strides to get the 1/2 length victory in 1:48.28. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to 8-1 Wesley third.
Full results chart from DRF
Parading takes off after the post parade. Robert Medina, assistant to winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "It worked out perfect. There didn't seem like there was a lot of speed and he would be on the lead. But it worked out where a couple horses wanted to go and he could just sit off him. He can do that just as well. He's finally sound. He's had a lot of injuries and bad luck, but he's always been a horse we thought would be a star. We just had to wait until he was 6."
Winning jockey Kent Desormeaux added, "He's not explosive. He's not a typical European turn-of-foot horse. But he's got stamina for days. It worked out real well today. When I squeezed him coming home, he laid down his body and drove to the wire."
Left: Second place finisher Just As Well in the post parade. Jim Bergen, assistant to trainer Jonathan Sheppard said, "Julien said he bobbled a little bit down the stretch, but he ran great. The wire came too soon, but I couldn't be happier." Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "He bobbled at the 1/8 pole, but we were clear and he finished up strong."
Right: Third place finisher Wesley returns after the race. His trainer Mark Hennig said, "I would have liked to have had a better start and certainly a better stretch run. He was ready, and we thought he was going to run a great race. Unfortunately, the trouble cost him the first two spots." Jockey Alan Garcia added, "He broke like he was asleep in the gate. Then, around the turn, I finally got him ready to run and, when I tried to go through the hole in front of me, the horse on the rail came out and closed the hole. I had to take up and go around."
Jockey Julien Leparoux sent Skylighter to the front to set a pace of 25.37, 49.61, and 1:13.30 while as many as 2 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Entering the stretch, Skylighter accelerated away from the field, finishing up 4 1/4 lengths in front of late-running Unforgotten in a time of 1:44.34 over the fast track. It was just a nose back to 7-1 All Smiles third.
Full results chart from DRF
Skylighter in the winner's circle. Charlie Boden, representative of winning owner Darley Stable said, "After the other horse (Sea Chanter) was scratched, we took her to New York, that was pretty much what (Skylighter) had to do, go to the front. It was a very heady ride by Mr. Leparoux, a pretty easy go."
Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "She kind of gave them the slip. That was good. We had a perfect trip. We got an easy lead and she had plenty left."
Left: Second place finisher Unforgotten comes out for the post parade. Her jockey Robby Albarado said, "The winner was a little better than anyone, but she did put in an effort. It was a nice race, a big difference from her last race."
Right: Third place finisher All Smiles in the post parade. Her jockey Jeremy Rose
said, "She's a class mare. We got away well and she fought real hard and stayed there until the end."
No Advantage heads into the winner's circle. Winning trainer Stephanie Beattie said, "This is absolutely awesome. To win a graded stakes race on the Preakness card is the highlight of my training career. We thought he could get the distance, even after he came up a little short in the Classic at Charles Town. We still believed he was a real nice colt, and now we know just how nice." Jockey J.D. Acosta added, "I took him back so he could be behind horses. I wanted to follow Johnny (Velazquez aboard Real Merchant). I knew my horse can be sharp sometimes, but I got him to relax early. Then I took him to the outside and he closed fast. I had every confidence in Stephanie. I have confidence in every horse she puts me on."
Real Merchant (left) and Ea (right) finished in a dead heat for second. Real Merchant is shown leading first time by. His jockey John Velazquez said, "My horse ran great today. He tried real hard. I certainly was not expecting (No Advantage) to come up behind me like he did. I look forward to riding him again." Ea is returning after the race. His jockey Eibar Coa said, "No excuses. He stumbled a little bit coming out of the gate, but I can't say that's to blame."
Social Queen heads for the winner's circle. Winning co-owner Barry Weisbord said, "We thought she was going to run well, but we weren't sure there was enough pace in the race. As it turned out, they didn't run that fast on the front end, so Rafael wanted to drop her to the back and come wide, and she ran them down." Jockey Rafael Bejarano added, "I knew I was going to win, because I still had a lot of horse. My horse made a big, big run. In the last couple jumps, the other horse was still running, too. My horse put her head in front at the wire."
Second place finisher All Is Vanity heads out for the post parade. Christophe Lorieul, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement said, "Last year, she was a little bit keen in her races. Today, she rated beautifully. She was traveling comfortably, saving ground. She came out at the quarter-pole and just got outrun in the last 1/16 mile. I thought she had it. She ran great. No excuses, you could not ask for a better performance, except winning."
Right: Third place finisher Tejida returns after the race.
Everyday Heroes in the post parade. Winning trainer Tim Ritchey said, "This horse is undefeated and we knew we had a good horse when he beat older horses twice earlier this year at Oaklawn Park. He had a few problems in the stretch today with the crowd and the noise. He could be a really good horse. He is already a strong sprinter, and his pedigree says that he may go longer." Jockey Jose Caraballo added, "He broke good. We were sitting in a good spot. At the middle of the turn, I tapped him on the shoulder and he shook loose. He started goofing around, looking around and waiting for other horses to come at him. I wasn't going to fight him the last 1/8 mile. He's very talented and great to ride."
Left: Second place finisher Not for Silver warms up before the race. His trainer Michael Trombetta said, "The winner was so wide, (Nothing for Silver) had nothing to chase. But he wasn't making up enough ground anyway."
Right: Third place finisher Checklist runs off in the post parade. His trainer Todd Pletcher said, "It wasn't a bad effort. Hopefully, this colt can continue to improve and put a string of good efforts together. He's not consistent; he's still figuring things out."
Ravalo in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Donald Barr said, "He's not an especially good gate horse and he didn't get off to the best start today. He stumbled and grabbed a quarter when someone came in front of him after the start. But he does have an awful lot of speed. and, but once he gets going, he's good to go." Jockey John Velazquez added, "He's a nice horse and did a good job today. After the stumble, he settled in and I figured he was OK. At the 5/16 pole, I showed him the whip. He responded and I said, OK let's go. He had to run really hard all the way, and I give him all the credit."
Left: Second place finisher Silver Edition in the post parade. His trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "(Julien Leparoux) rode a good race and the horse ran his eyeballs out. He ran hard. We were just second, that's all. I would have liked to have been outside if I could have been. I thought he was going to come back and maybe get him. If we had another 50 yards, he might have."
Right: Third place finisher Celtic Innis returns after the race. His trainer Tim O'Keefe said, "He never stopped and he beat some pretty good runners. The top two ran a huge race. I'm happy with the effort and the ride."
His trainer Todd Pletcher said, "It set up pretty well. We were a touch closer than we would have liked to be, but he's still learning. If we can get him to settle a little bit, he'll show a more explosive kick down the lane. I think he can get 1 1/8 mile no problem." Jockey John Velazquez added, "He got away very good. I wanted to get him up near the leaders. I got him to relax, and from then on, it was easy."
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