Updated on 05/21/2013 8:56AM

Preakness Stakes: Oxbow leads throughout under Gary Stevens; Orb fourth at 3-5

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Justin N. Lane
Gary Stevens and Oxbow win the Preakness over Itsmyluckyday (center) and Mylute (left).

BALTIMORE – On a gray day at Pimlico, the Sunshine Boys ruled.

Jockey Gary Stevens, who came out of a seven-year retirement in January, and trainer D. Wayne Lukas, still going strong at age 77, put added shine on their Hall of Fame careers and put an end to the Triple Crown aspirations of Orb by teaming to win the138th Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course with the 15-1 longshot Oxbow.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Race replays and reactions from Pimlico]

Oxbow ($32.80), sixth in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, benefited from a race shape that was vastly different from the Derby, in which Oxbow was close to a hot pace and held on best of those nearest that pace. In the Preakness, Oxbow was surprisingly left alone on the lead while setting moderate fractions, and had plenty left to lead from start to finish.

Oxbow finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Itsmyluckyday, who was a half-length better than Mylute, with Orb, the Derby winner, a distant fourth, nine lengths behind Oxbow. Goldencents was fifth and was followed, in order, by Departing, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, and Titletown Five.

The track was rated fast, but was a bit on the dull side all day, resulting in a final time of 1:57.54 for 1 3/16 miles.

“This is the reason I came back, to win races like this, the classics,” said Stevens, 50.

Stevens and Lukas first won a Triple Crown race together in 1988, with the filly Winning Colors in the Kentucky Derby. They also teamed for a Derby win with Thunder Gulch in 1995. This was the third Preakness win for Stevens, and the sixth for Lukas.

But for Lukas, it put him No. 1 all-time among trainers for Triple Crown race victories with 14, separating him from the late "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons, who was tied with Lukas with 13. Lukas had not won the Preakness since Charismatic in 1999, and had not won a Triple Crown race since Commendable in the 2000 Belmont.

“It’s been a while, but it never gets old,” said Lukas, who said Stevens gave Oxbow “a Hall-of-Fame ride.”

Stevens has been re-energized by his return to riding. In the jockeys’ room after the Kentucky Derby, while waiting to do a television interview, he had a wide smile as he watched a replay, and said being in that race, the feeling it gave him, made the sacrifices of losing weight to get into riding shape worth it. Stevens won the Preakness in front of his third wife, Angie, and their 4-year-old daughter, Maddie, who until Stevens returned had never seen her father ride in a race.

Angie and Maddie Stevens watched the race adjacent to the rail near the winner’s circle.

“Go Daddy, Go Daddy,” Maddie yelled as the field came down the stretch.

Afterwards, Angie Stevens said, “I’m in shock.”

“This is so exciting,” she said.

Preakness Day dawned cloudy and overcast, and light rain occasionally fell midway through the card, but it was never an appreciable amount, and it had stopped by the time the Preakness was run.

Oxbow, starting from post 6 in the nine-horse field, left the gate alertly and had a 1 1/2-length lead after an opening quarter-mile in 23.94 seconds. Nursed along by Stevens, Oxbow continued with a daylight lead after a half-mile in 48.60 seconds and six furlongs in 1:13.26.

“They gave me a free three-quarters of a mile today,” Stevens said.

With a half-mile to go, “I was thinking, ‘Are you kidding me?’” Stevens said. “The race was over. I just walked the dog.”

As the field went around the far turn, Stevens said he tried the same move he made all those years ago with Winning Colors, attempting to bust the race open with three furlongs to go.

“I wanted to kick away and try to get some separation,” he said.

By the time the field straightened away in the lane, Oxbow had extended his lead to three lengths, and the result was not in doubt. Stevens burst into a beaming smile as Oxbow crossed under the wire.

“To win a classic, at 50 years old, after seven years of retirement, is super, super sweet,” Stevens said.

“The old man did it,” said jockey Julien Leparoux, who rode Titletown Five.

For Orb, the Preakness ended a five-race win streak that had left him the talk of racing. He was sent off the 3-5 favorite, but never was a serious threat. Sixth going into the first turn, Orb advanced between horses going down the backstretch, but nearing the three-furlong pole could not keep pace with rivals nearest him and was shuffled back to seventh.

“I knew I was in trouble," said his jockey, Joel Rosario. "He really was having trouble holding his position."

With the loss by Orb, the Triple Crown will go unclaimed for another year. It has not been won since Affirmed in 1978. The current drought is the longest in Triple Crown history since Sir Barton became the first Triple Crown winner in 1919.

Two of those Triple Crowns – Whirlaway in 1941 and Citation in 1948 - were won by storied Calumet Farm, at the time owned by the Wright family. Because of mismanagement by their heirs, the farm fell on hard times in the early 1990s. But it is being resurrected by the reclusive tobacco magnate Brad Kelley, the owner of Oxbow. Kelley, as is his custom, was not in attendance.Oxbow has now won three times in 11 starts. In his first start this year, he won the Lecomte at Fair Grounds. Between that and the Kentucky Derby, he was fourth in the Risen Star, second in the Rebel, and fifth in the Arkansas Derby.

Oxbow earned $600,000 from an overall purse of $1 million to bring his career earnings to $983,500. He is by the sire Awesome Again, and is out of the Cee’s Tizzy mare Tizamazing. He was purchased as a yearling by Lukas on behalf of Kelley for $250,000.

* Attendance ontrack on Saturday at Pimlico was 117,203, the fourth-highest Preakness crowd in history, said track officials. Handle on the 13-race card from all sources was $81,940,233, the sixth-highest Preakness Day handle, officials said. Of the total handle amount, $50,251,542 was bet on the Preakness Stakes.

- additional reporting by Mary Rampellini

D. Wayne Lukas has won the Preakness six times:
Oxbow, 2013
Charismatic, 1999
Timber Country, 1995
Tabasco Cat, 1994
Tank’s Prospect, 1985
Codex, 1980

Jockey Gary Stevens, has won the Preakness three times:
Oxbow, 2013
Point Given, 2001
Silver Charm, 1997

Calumet Farm has won the Preakness eight times. It bred all of the winners but Oxbow.
Oxbow, 2013  (First for Calumet Farm operation of Brad Kelley)
Forward Pass, 1968
Tim Tam, 1958
Fabius, 1956
Citation, 1948
Faultless, 1947
Pensive, 1944
Whirlaway, 1941

Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
106 Beyer? Are you kidding me? Three legged claimers at evangeline could have put up a faster race. Beyers getting less and less credible.
Rogelio More than 1 year ago
Beyer of 106 yet over 4 seconds slower than the track record..........please Mr. Beyer, you are really grasping here
Rogelio More than 1 year ago
Final time 1:57.2............slow. As for the Belmont: I am not so sure any of this years 3 yo's can make a mile and a half at a level that would beat a sharp 35k claimer.
prose More than 1 year ago
I couldn't agree more, Rogelio. These are a rotten bunch of 3 yos, every one of them. They will leave no lasting impression on the sport. In fact, some may disagree, but since the class of 2007 with Street Sense and Curlin and Hard Spun, there has been nothing but mediocre crap competing in the 3 yo classics. To me this seems an undeniable fact.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
What a silly statement! Yes, Prose - There are a whole lot of us out there who totally disagree with your statement! I have seven names for you: Animal Kingdom, I'll Have Another, Shackleford, Mucho Macho Man, Fort Larned, Wise Dan, Game On Dude. And I'm throwing in the names Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, Royal Delta and Groupie Doll just for fun as a bonus prize! All great, incredible, beyond talented champions. All champions racing on race tracks in America (and all considered great champions the world over) as 3 year old racers 2007 or later! Yeah, you're right, what a group of cr@ppy, mediocre horses, huh? NOT, NOT NOT!! It's about time America started showing a little more respect for the marvelous, talented champions we have been BLESSED to watch race the last decade instead of slapping horrible labels on them that just are NOT TRUE like "cr@ppy", "mediocre", "bad crop", "horrible". Each of these horses is equine royalty. None of the horses listed above could or ever should be called anything other than "Talented", "Exceptional" and "Champion", because that is what they truly are. They represent the best of their breed. And fine representatives they are, too!!
prose More than 1 year ago
You misread my comment and most of your statements were not to the point.. I specifically referred to the 3 yo classics. Did Zenyatta run in them? No. Did Fort Larned? No. Did Wise Dan? No. And why you would even mention Royal Delta and Groupie Doll is beyond me. Was Animal Kingdom a great horse? I don't think so. He won the derby and then had every chance to catch Shakleford in the Preakness and failed. His Belmont was a disaster. Mucho Macho Man is an in and outer as an older horse but he certainly didn't distinguish himself in the classics. The same with Game on Dude. Now, Rachel Alexandra's Preakness was a thing of beauty, she was a the real deal; and she trounced the boys again in the Haskell going 147 flat. Excellent. But really, Joy, my comments referred specifically to the triple crown classics. The horses who won those races after 2007 came back to do nothing. Don't you get my point, because everything you said was, for the most part, beside it.
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
Highly deniable in my opinion, and I will restrict my discussion to only those who were on the Triple Crown trails. The 2007 class also benefitted from a dearth of top older horses. Few would bet any of them against Invasor. 2008: Big Brown - an exceptional but under-appreciated runner. In the Haskell, Big Brown simply didn't quite have it, was toiling just like Curlin did in finishing 3rd, but he somehow surged in deep stretch and won going away - makes you wonder what would have happend in the Belmont if Kent didn't pull him up. He then set blazing fractions and toyed with older horses to the finish in the Monmouth Stakes, a good prep for the BC Classic which was to be run on plastic that year. He would have been co-favorite in the BCC with Curlin who finished a non-threatening second in the Man O'War. 2009: Summer Bird: Belmont, Travers and JCGC winner. If the 2009 BCC were run on dirt, he would have finished first or second. Quality Road: freakish Florida Derby and Met Mile. Easily as good as Hard Spun. Rachel Alexandra: you know the story. 2010: Eskendereya: would have 2-1 in the Derby. Lookin at Lucky: Baffert thought he was as good as any he had ever trained for a good reason. This colt always had it when you push the button. Besides two nightmarish starts he had never failed to surge to the lead including a bad trip in the Rebel Stakes similar to Orb's Preakness but he came back to win it, and the BCC in which he ran into two monsters. Older horse Blame rudely shoved him aside and Zenyatta broke his heart before Martin stopped riding and cost him 3rd place. Honorary mention: Paddy O'Prado, First Dude 2011: Animal Kingdom Honorary mention: Caleb's Posse, Shackleford 2012: none finished the year but as talented as the big three of 2007 I'll Have Another Bodemeister Paynter
Sam More than 1 year ago
You two guys just don't understand thoroughbred racing.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Sam were trying to figure out how on earth Golden Soul got second in the derby. There is nothing to understand. If I had the next days paper I still would not have bet that horse . I would have bet my house he would finish in the money. THERE IS NOTHING TO FIGURE OUT.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Would not finish in the money
Rogelio More than 1 year ago
Sam, I am more than willing to hear an opinion that differs from mine and if evidence supports...........will agree with you. What I do see is a breed that has stamina issues here in the US. I say this because I have been to and watched racing all over the world. Why is it a racehorse in South America can start 20+ times per year and race for 4 to 6 years at distance up to 2 miles? In fact the programs at San Isidro and the Hiipodrome in Chile have numerous horses daily that fit this description. I also see horses with a greater racing longevity in Korea and Hong Kong. While I seldom accept and usually disregard generalizations, I do not see the thoroughbred breed progressing here in the US. True, Zenyata was a great horse but she would not have stood a chance against Secretariat at a mile and a quarter........and certainly not at a mile and a half. I remember Mr. Prospector and he was not the picture of perfect confirmation........in fact he was rather poor in this area. He was straight in his hocks and while this promotes speed this is seldom a trait of a horse with endurance. If you look at the pedigrees you will find tons of Mr Prospector bloodlines. Perhaps in the future a few good endurance stallions will grace the US.
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
Agreed ditto. Really confirmed the mediocre crop this year. Just like all the prep races. Summer stakes will be wide open though. Who knows who will show up when now.
Reza More than 1 year ago
Somebody somewhere had millions to show. Maybe not even in the pool. How come 3/5 always happen to run fourth?
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
That's what I will never understand.
Robert More than 1 year ago
who cares about preakness
grayposse More than 1 year ago
Stevens loves limelight, no surprise he returns to win a triple crown race!! Guys like him and Mike Smith eat this up!!! Anyone going in who thought Krigger and Goldencents stood a shot would have been better off putting their money in a toilet and flushing it!!!
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
I was cheering for Orb but he just wasn't good enough IMO. Hopefully he improves along with the rest of these 3yo for some good racing down the line. Regretfully, had Oxbow coming in second in my super but didn't play him win/place even though I felt good about him running well, guess I am still learning. Further insult is my Oaks, Derby, and Preakness exotics all came in 1,3,4, couldn't find second place. Finally, hats off to Itsmyluckyday. I liked him early in the season but thought he wouldn't get the distance after he lost FD and had a bad KD.
Justin Walker More than 1 year ago
That was a gift. 15-1, really? .Off his Derby run he shouldn't have been more that 7-1
David Abel More than 1 year ago
I mentioned to our group I liked oxbow in the derby, and stuck with him on this day. and at 15-1? Loved him even more. I just wish i bet more on him!!!
Charles Sanford More than 1 year ago
a come from behind horse...cant close on horses on the frontend when they a running slow and he on the inside trapped he has no momentum..he has to be on the outside making that swing to get the momentum to run them down as you will see in the belmont.
Charles Sanford More than 1 year ago
orb was up to close early.....should have been in the back coming out of the turn for homeon the out side.... if he runs in the belmont stakes i hope shug advise that take back early and he will run them down.