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Jockey Javier Castellano celebrates aboard Ironicus after winning the Dixie Stakes on the 2015 Preakness undercard.
The record 131,680 in attendance at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes (G1) were treated to a marathon 14-race card with the first race off at 10:30am. It was a picture perfect day weather-wise during the undercard, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 80's with a light breeze, with 7 stakes races contested before the Preakness. The main track was fast and the turf was firm until about 20 minutes to post for the main event when storm clouds arrived and heavy rains fell, downgrading the track to sloppy for the Preakness.
A field of 13 older horses went 1 1/8 miles on the turf in the $400,000 Dixie Stakes (G2). Makers 46 Mile (G1) third place finisher Long On Value was sent off as the 5-2 favorite over 5-1 Up With the Birds, unraced since 16th in the Japan Cup (G1), and 7-1 Ironicus, second in an allowance last out.
17-1 Skyring battled for the led with 21-1 Talk Show Man through fractions of 23.69, 48.14, and 1:11.95. Entering the lane, 26-1 Cage Fighter, 6th early, moved up to take the lead through 1 mile in 1:35.05, but Ironicus, 9th early, came through late to win by 2 3/4 length in 1:40.53. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Up With the Birds third, and a head more to favorite Long On Value fourth.
Full results chart from DRF
Ironicus in the winner's circle. Robbie Medina, assistant to winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "We've always held him in high regard. He had a little injury last year, so we had to wait to run him until October. He's been very unlucky and should have already won at Aqueduct and Keeneland. He just trains and looks like a good horse, and I don't think this is his optimal distance. He wants more. I think a mile and an eighth or a mile and a quarter is right for him."
Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "This race set up perfectly for us. In his last race the leader just galloped and he made a run but didn't have a chance to win. The turf was also softer that day. He likes a little harder track and with today's fast pace, it was exactly what we needed. I think he may be able to step up."
Fame and Power in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "We got close at Keeneland. This is basically a speed horse that really should be going one turn. Going into today we had to plan a little differently. I told the jock to get out there and make them catch him." Jockey Martin Garcia added, "He likes to run on the lead. My job was to get him to relax, be happy and be comfortable. When it was time to kick in, he took off. He was very relaxed and comfortable the whole way."
Watsdachances heads back to the barn with her new winner's blanket. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "I was kind of worried a little bit. Hard Not to Like, she scratched. I didn't see much speed in the race. Usually my horse comes from behind. I don't want to change anything. She hadn't run for eight months. She put me in a good spot in the race. I didn't want to be too far back or too close to the pace. I think I put her in a good spot in the middle to give me a good run and she did. She did excellent today and she galloped out beautiful."
Sandbar in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Joe Sharp said, "Joel (Rosario) did an outstanding job. The horse is very flexible. He took advantage of a slow pace and kept him close. We won the dogfight down the lane. Hats off to horse and rider. Mr. (Ken) Ramsey and I claimed the horse last fall. They can get good and progress steadily and he has. We've believed in him all along."
Ageless heads to the winner's circle. Winning jockey Martin Garcia said, "It was good to save ground, but it wasn't my idea to sit on the rail. It's just how the race developed. I wasn't sure the rail would open. We went for it the last eighth of a mile."
Holy Boss in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "We got a great trip. He got away from the gate really cleanly. Ricky (Santana Jr.) put him in a great spot and he went very well from there. I was a little concerned when they said :44-and-change, but it's a good group of horses and that's what happens. This is another step up in competition for him to run so fast, and I think there will be some nice races in his future."
Woodwin W heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jamie Ness said, "We were pretty confident coming into the race. Jevian (Toledo) had ridden him before and so far he's won every race. I told him to keep him close up and if he didn't do well it would be my fault. This is the first horse for these owners and they came up from Florida to see today's race. We haven't decided where to go with him next."
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