Oxbow Pierces Orb in Preakness

By May 20, 2013
Oxbow and jockey Gary Stevens cross the finish line.

Oxbow and Gary Stevens (Photo: Jim McCue / Pimlico Race Course)

In a wire-to-wire win, long shot Oxbow claimed the cup at the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD, May 18. The NJ-bred bay colt left the starting gate under Gary Stevens with 15-to-1 odds to become the despoiler of Triple Crown dreams for Kentucky Derby winner Orb.

The favorite pulled an unlucky No. 1 post position and seemed unable to settle into a rhythm, ending up fourth, while Oxbow broke from the No. 6 slot to claim the lead in the field of nine, winning by 1 ¾ lengths in what was considered a slow a slow 1:57.54 over the 1 3/16 mile course. Itsmyluckyday came in second, Mylute was third, a formidable performance for jockey Rosie Napravnik in her bid to become the first female to win the Preakness (improving the duo’s fifth place finish at the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier).

Will the surprise upset be enough to fuel the fast-track dreams of a nation pumped for its first Triple Crown in 35 years? Affirmed was the eleventh horse to accomplish the feat in 1978.

FoxSports.com dissected Orb’s performance as follows: “Orb, who broke slowly as expected, wound up in a cluster of horses around the turn and into the backstretch. While Oxbow was cruising along in front, [Orb jockey Joel] Rosario tried to find room outside but found his path blocked. Orb dropped back to the inside, and perhaps frustrated without any space to run free like he did in the Derby, fell back to seventh and was never a threat in the stretch.”

Oxbow’s win was touted as a victory of experience and wisdom over exuberant youth, with 77-year-old trainer D. Wayne Lukas and 50-year-old jockey Gary Stevens reflecting lots of silver in the spotlight. In a whimsical show of solidarity, even the three-year-old Oxbow got with the spirit of things! “Though officially registered with the Jockey Club as a bay, Oxbow does have white hairs scattered throughout his coat and his coat color is referred to as roan” by trainer  Lukas, according to Wikipedia.

Oxbow is sired by the Canadian-bred Awesome Again, out of the unraced Tizamazing. He is owned by Brad Kelley of Bluegrass Hall (now based at the old Calumet Farm in Lexington, KY).

Oxbow leads the pack as they approach the finish line.

Oxbow won by 1 ¾ lengths.

It was the sixth Preakness win for Lukas, who holds the record for the most Triple Crown race wins at 14 (he had three of the nine contenders on Saturday’s field). It was his sixth Preakness win. For jockey Stevens, who came out of retirement in January, it marked a third Preakness win (to go with his three  Kentucky Derby and three Belmont Stakes victories.)

On a windy, overcast day, 117,203 fans turned out at the Maryland track as per Pimlico’s count.  Oxbow paid out $32.80 on each $2 bet. His team loped home with $620,000 of the $1 million Preakness purse.

The Belmont Stakes, third prong of the Triple Crown, takes place  June 8 at Belmont Park in Hempstead, NY. Lukas has indicated Oxbow will run. Orb trainer Shug McGaughey said his colt will ship there to train, but no decision has been made as to whether he’ll enter. NBC Sports will televise the Belmont Stakes live from 5-7 p.m. ET.

To see a replay of the 2013 Preakness, click here.

139th Preakness Stakes – Results

Place Horse Trainer Jockey Earnings

1 Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas Gary Stevens  $620,000

2 Itsmyluckyday Eddie Plesa Jr. John Velazquez  $200,000

3 Mylute Tom Amoss Rosie  Napravnik  $100,000

4 Orb Shug McGaughey Joel Rosario  $50,000

5 Goldencents Doug O’Neill Kevin Krigger  $30,000

6 Departing Albert M. Stall Jr. Brian Hernandez Jr.  –

7 Will Take Charge D. Wayne Lukas Mike Smith  –

8 Govenor Charlie Bob Baffert Martin Garcia  –

9 Titletown Five Eddie Plesa Jr. John Velazquez  –

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