05/13/2012 11:50PM

Derby Runners-up in the Preakness


In the last 50 years, horses who finished second in the Kentucky Derby are only 2 for 36 in the Preakness Stakes. This seems worth mentioning in a year when the Derby runner-up, Bodemeister, is the likely morning-line favorite for the Preakness.

I was surprised the number was so low. I would have guessed more like half a dozen until I started filling in the blanks in the chart that appears below. Turns out that since 1962, only Prairie Bayou in 1993 and Summer Squall in 1990 followed up a Derby second with a Preakness victory. However, while the Derby runner-ups won under 6 percent of the time during that span, they did finish in the top three at Pimlico over 60 percent of the time with an overall record of 36: 2-11-9.

Some excellent horses have finished second in the Derby over the last 50 years including four Hall of Famers: Alydar, Arts and Letters, Best Pal and Easy Goer...none of whom won the Preakness. 


[Footnote: If you want to be literal-minded, you could argue that Forward Pass sort of counts because he crossed the wire second to Dancer's Image in the 1968 Derby and then won the Preakness. However, Dancer's Image was disqualified and Forward Pass was officially the Derby winner, not the Derby runner-up, when he ran in the Preakness.]