Oxbow led all the way at the 138th Preakness Stakes to spoil Kentucky Derby winner Orb’s chances of becoming the 12th horse to claim thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
Oxbow, a 15-1 shot, yesterday covered the 1 3/16 mile (1.9 kilometer) race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore in one minute, 57.54 seconds. Itsmyluckyday was second, followed by Mylute and Orb.
“We came in here with a lot of confidence,” said jockey Gary Stevens, 50, who came out of a seven-year retirement to ride Oxbow to sixth place in the May 4 Kentucky Derby. “I hit the half-mile pole and said, ‘Is this really happening?’ It was over at the half-mile.”
Orb was seeking to become the 34th horse to win the Derby and Preakness. Eleven of those went on to win the Belmont Stakes and complete the three-race Triple Crown, with the last being Affirmed in 1978. The Belmont Stakes is scheduled for June 8 in Elmont, New York.
Oxbow and Orb share the bloodline of Seattle Slew, winner of the Triple Crown in 1977, while Orb also carries genes from Secretariat, who set the record times for all three races in capturing the 1973 Triple Crown. Secretariat ranks second to Man o’ War, and Seattle Slew is ninth, in The Blood-Horse magazine’s ranking of the 100 greatest U.S. racehorses of the 20th Century.
Oxbow gave Stevens, who left his job as a television analyst to return to racing, his third Preakness victory, the last in 1997 aboard Silver Charm, and his ninth Triple Crown race win.
D. Wayne Lukas, who had three entries in the nine-horse field, earned his record-setting 14th victory in Triple Crown races and trained his sixth horse to win the Preakness.
“I get paid to spoil dreams,” Lukas said in a televised interview. “You got to line them up and win them.” He also said he expects to enter Oxbow in the Belmont Stakes provided the colt is fit.
Oxbow returned $32.80 on a $2 bet to win, $12 to place and $6.80 to show. Itsmyluckyday paid $7.80 and $5 and Mylute returned $5.20.
Shug McGaughey, Orb’s trainer, who was looking for his first Preakness victory, said he thought the horse was in a good position when he left the gate from the first post position.
“He took him inside and never really seemed comfortable down there,” McGaughey said. “It is highs and lows, but probably more lows than highs.”