Shackleford led from start to finish to complete the 1 3/16th-mile race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore yesterday in one minute, 56.21 seconds. Kentucky Derby champion Animal Kingdom was a half-length further back, followed by Astrology in third place.
Shackleford, a 3-year-old colt, was already sweating as he kicked out on the infield while waiting to get the saddle on, before acting up as he was loaded in the fifth gate.
“He gets a little hot,” his trainer Dale Romans said in a televised interview after the race. “I was more concerned at the quarter pole that he would hold on.”
It’s the first Preakness win for jockey Jesus Castanon and Romans, who trained runner-up First Dude and sixth-place finisher Paddy O’Prado in last year’s race.
“He was a little hot in the beginning,” said Castanon, who rode Shackleford to fourth place in the Derby. “But he was able to handle it.”
Shackleford won the first-place purse of $600,000 plus a $500,000 bonus. The winner paid $27.20 to win, $10.20 to place and $6.80 to show on a $2 bet. Animal Kingdom, the 5-2 favorite, returned $4.20 and $3.60, and Astrology paid $8.
Animal Kingdom, hanging in the back of the 14-horse pack, got caught in a crowd after making his move, which forced the 3-year-old colt to the outside in the stretch.
“He ran huge,” said trainer Graham Motion, who opted to take Animal Kingdom to Baltimore yesterday morning from his home stall 60 miles away (97 kilometers). “He needed another 1/16.”
Jockey John Velazquez said Animal Kingdom seemed to be bothered by the dirt kicked up by the other horses. The colt ran his first race on a dirt track in the Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 7.
“He reacted to the dirt,” Velazquez said. “He kind of backed up.”
Animal Kingdom’s defeat leaves Affirmed in 1978 as the last of the 11 winners of the Triple Crown, which concludes with the Belmont Stakes on June 11 in Elmont, New York.
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