Each year as we reflect on all of the great Preakness Stakes memories, we realize that the race might be our favorite leg of the Triple Crown because of so many great moments that occurred in the 2000s. Some of our favorite moments in racing, period, have come in the Preakness. The running of this race helped shaped the fandom of the Racing Dudes. It’s worth mentioning that we picked the race’s most dramatic editions, rather than the blowout-type performances like American Pharoah, Smarty Jones, Big Brown, and California Chrome. Let’s take a look back at our 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, what a performance!
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 in order to ride her. 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 horse.
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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. This will forever be my personal favorite Preakness.
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 from 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 that 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. Justify Emerges from the Fog & Holds Back Bravazo: 2018
When people think of Justify, they will forever remember his dominance, but we saw just how much heart this horse had in the Preakness. After being hounded by Good Magic all the way around the track, Justify put him away in mid-stretch, only to have to hold off a late charge from Bravazo to win and preserve his shot at the Triple Crown. The fog and the extremely wet track conditions added to the drama of this race that you have to watch again. It was a wild one!