After writing this article, I realized that the Preakness Stakes might be my favorite leg of the Triple Crown because there have been many great Preakness moments in the 2000s. I would even say that some of my favorite moments in racing, period, have come in the Preakness. I can remember many of these moments like they were yesterday! It’s worth mentioning that I picked the race’s most dramatic moments instead of the blowout-type performances like Smarty Jones, Big Brown, and California Chrome. Let’s take a look back at my top 5 favorite moments:
1. Afleet Alex Almost Goes Down, Still Wins: 2005
Perhaps one of the greatest athletic moments in sports history. Words can’t describe this one, you just have to watch the replay. Pay close attention to the final turn. Wow!
2. Rachel Alexandra Beats the Boys: 2009
The super filly Rachel Alexandra was coming off of a 20 (yes, TWENTY) length win in the Kentucky Oaks and was privately purchased by Jess Jackson right after the race, who pointed her pointed towards the Preakness. Jockey Calvin Borel, who rode Mine That Bird to victory in the Kentucky Derby, remarkably jumped off of him to ride this super filly. Making things more dramatic, she drew the far outside post and took the field wire-to-wire. An incredible performance by an incredible filly.
3. Curlin edges Street Sense at the Wire: 2007
I’ll readily admit, if this race had never happened, then this website may not exist. Curlin got me into the game, and Curlin took it to another level for me when he re-rallied in deep stretch to defeat the Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. One of the most thrilling finishes in quite some time featuring two absolutely brilliant horses.
4. I’ll Have Another Runs Down Bodemeister: 2012
One of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen. I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister were superstars in the 2012 crop, and the 1-2 finishers of the Kentucky Derby were set for a rematch in the Preakness. Only this time, the factors were different. Bodemeister had set a brutal pace in the Kentucky Derby but was alone on the lead in the Preakness. There was no way any horse could run him down this time – or was there? I’ll Have Another was somehow able to reach and pass him in a dramatic stretch run that, sadly, was the last race that either horse ever ran.
5. American Pharoah Splashes Home: 2015
If not for a tremendous rain storm just minutes before the race, this would not have been so dramatic. However, it rained about as hard as you could imagine, with literally a small stream of water running through the track on the rail. Everyone in the crowd was anxious, but American Pharoah eased their minds with a wire-to-wire win that allowed him to continue along on his quest for the Triple Crown.