Each year as I reflect on all of the great Preakness Stakes memories, I realize that the race might be my favorite leg of the Triple Crown because there have been many great 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, rather than 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. Afleet Alex nearly falls down but still dominates the race. 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 winning the Kentucky Oaks by 20 (yes, TWENTY) lengths. Jess Jackson, whose Stonestreet Stables owned Curlin, privately purchased Rachel Alexandra right after the Oaks and pointed her 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. Still, she took the field wire-to-wire in 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. It was one of the most thrilling finishes in quite some time and featured two absolutely brilliant horses.
4. I’ll Have Another Runs Down Bodemeister: 2012
This was one of the greatest performances that I’ve ever seen. I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister, superstars in the 2012 crop and the 1-2 finishers in 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.