Let’s take a look back at a Preakness Stakes (G1) that offered plenty of drama. The race might have been missing many of the top horses from the Kentucky Derby (G1), but we saw some noteworthy performances that mean something as we head into the second half of the season. Here is a closer look at the trips and performances from each of the 13 horses:
1st: War of Will – The fantastic ride from Tyler Gaffalione basically won the race. Not to take away from the horse, but Gaffalione saving ground the entire way was the difference, especially with Owendale covering so much ground on the outside. He got a bit lucky that the rail opened up like it did, but that is the risk that you have to take when drawing the one-hole. You also have to give War of Will credit for being much more relaxed behind the early speed in this race. Being head strong early may have contributed to him losing the Kentucky Derby.
2nd: Everfast – This horse killed a ton of exacta and trifecta tickets. He dropped back early, then flew home late while saving ground with a nifty ride from Joel Rosario. People will think that this was a fluke performance, but he showed a different running style in this race, and that could have made the difference. Trainer Dale Romans will give him plenty of chances to win a big race this season, starting with the Belmont Stakes (G1).
3rd: Owendale – Yikes… his wide trip may have cost him the victory. He had to swing widest of all when turning for home, losing valuable ground, and was still able to rally for third, just barely getting edged out for second. When you compare the trips between him and the winner, you have to think that Owendale only losing by 1 1/4 lengths is a major positive. He was probably the best horse in the race.
4th: Warrior’s Charge – This was a brave effort from a horse running against stakes company for the first time. He went out and set a very honest pace in this spot, then still nearly hung on for a piece of things. Either way, he stamped himself as a major player in this division moving forward. His early speed is always going to make him dangerous, and he proved that he has the staying power down the lane to be dangerous.
5th: Laughing Fox – There is no doubt that he is getting better with each start. He dropped way back early, let the pace develop, and was able to fly up late and threaten to hit the board. With this kind of running style, he is always going to need some luck to make an impact, but he could make some noise in the summer.
6th: Improbable – There is no excuse for his performance. Just like the Kentucky Derby, he got a perfect stalking trip, yet did no running down the stretch. It’s becoming more and more clear that he needs a cut back in distance. He also has some mental issues to work through, as he was fractious in the gate and nearly lost jockey Mike Smith.
7th: Win Win Win – He got involved in the race a littler earlier than usual, a good move since he was breaking from the 13-hole. He still lacked a serious rally, though, and basically ran in the same position all the way around the track. A cut back in distance is most likely what this horse needs.
8th: Bourbon War – He was the race’s major disappointment. He sat a little closer than normal, around mid-pack, while saving ground along the rail, and the pace seemed to be materializing perfectly for him. However, he had no run down the lane when it mattered.
9th: Signalman – After dropping to the back of the pack, he was unable to muster up any kind of rally down the lane. The trip was decent enough, he just lacked any kind of punch. He just hasn’t been able to get it going as a 3-year-old.
10th: Anothertwistafate – He was forwardly-placed right from the start and ran three-wide most of the way around the track. Those two factors gave him little chance when the real running began at the top of the stretch; that’s when he started going backwards. This class level may also be a little too high for him.
11th: Alwaysmining – It’s hard to understand what happened to the hometown horse. He sat a perfect trip and looked ready to make a move heading into the turn, but then dropped back badly. Perhaps the class got to him, or maybe something happened. Either way, it was a major disappointment that he finished this poorly.
12th: Market King – As expected, he was just overmatched in this spot. He sat in third for most of the race while chasing the pace before fading badly on the turn.
13th: Bodexpress – It was a tough break for the maiden when he hopped out of the gate and threw off jockey John Velazquez. There isn’t much to analyze past his disastrous start. He’ll live to fight another day.