Somewhat overshadowed by the Kentucky Derby drama this year, the Preakness Stakes weekend was chock full of stakes races that saw longshots, records broke and a bit of redemption as well. Here's your weekend stakes wrap-up.
The 144th Running of the Preakness Stakes
With wicked weather covering most of the midwest, it was sunshine at Pimlico Race Course for the iconic Preakness Stakes. The excitement started right at the break with BODEXPRESS rearing and bucking off his jockey, John Velazquez. Both were uninjured and BODEXPRESS went on to run a heck of a race all by himself, although he was wide for most of the race at the turn he moved to the inside and even tried to make a move. He then went on to run the distance again before outrider Kaymarie Kreidel caught him. BODEXPRESS wasn't the only horse with a gate issue. IMPROBABLE had some antics loading as well, which resulted in a sixth-place finish.
For those that did break cleanly, the field was led by the Brad Cox trained WARRIOR'S CHARGE, who set opening fractions of :22.50 and :46.16, with MARKET KING and ANOTHERTWISTAFATE following. WAR OF WILL held back while the front runners began to fade at the top of the stretch. With a wide-open path on the rail, WAR OF WILL took the lead and finished the job with a 1 1/4 lengths to spare and a final time of 1:54.34.
In second was EVERFAST, the 29-1 longshot entered by trainer Dale Romans. He finished just a nose ahead of OWENDALE, who also rallied late from the back. WARRIOR'S CHARGE held on for fourth followed by LAUGHING FOX, IMPROBABLE, WIN WIN WIN, BOURBON WAR, SIGNALMAN, ANOTHERTWISTAFATE, ALWAYSMINING and MARKET KING.
BODEXPRESS was listed as starting and then received a DNR (Did Not Finish) resulting in a loss on all tickets.
Coming out of the Preakness, WAR OF WILL appeared to be in good shape. He is set to ship to Keeneland next and trainer Mark Casse has stated that he would like to take the colt to the Belmont.
$250,000 Dixie Stakes (G2T)
Breaking from post 10, CATHOLIC BOY returned to racing after a six-month break following the Breeders' Cup Classic, but this time on the turf. He made brief contact with INSPECTOR LYNLEY before recovering and driving to the front to stalk REAL STORY in third. With PARET on his inside, he moved up to second and drove forward down the lane to challenge REAL STORY and overcome him by a head. At the wire, he fended off a late drive from ADMISSION OFFICE on the rail and won with a final time of 1:41.09. ADMISSION OFFICE finished second with JUST HOWARD following.
$200,000 Chick Lang Stakes (G3)
LEXITONIAN went straight to the lead to battle MALPAIS, who set early fractions of :22.65 and :44.82. LEXITONIAN settled two lengths behind third while GLADIATOR KING won the fight against MALPAIS, putting him behind in the early stretch. Moving off the rail, LEXITONIAN moved outside the leader and then surged to the front and hit the wire with a final time of 1:09.74 under jockey Jose Ortiz. ADMIRAL LYNCH and GLADIATOR KING completed the order. The 8-5 favorite, PREAMBLE, finished last of nine.
$150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness Stakes (G3)
Breaking sharp, COVFEFE quickly took the lead over CONGRATS GAL and FIGHTING MAD setting opening fractions of :22.24 and :44.43. Running clear at the top of the lane and through the stretch, she only added distance with every stride completing the six furlongs in an amazingly fast 1:07.70. COVFEFE broke the track record of 1:09, set by NORTHERN WOLF in 1990.
PLEASE FLATTER ME finished second, followed by TOMLIN three and a half lengths back. Unfortunately, CONGRATS GAL began to falter in the backstretch and was eased up to the wire where she collapsed and was vanned off the track, suffering a sudden death.
$100,000 SIR BARTON STAKES
It was a five-horse field in the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes, which is a 1 1/16th mile test restricted to non-winners of an open stakes. Coming off the pace under John Velazquez, KING FOR A DAY completed the race with a time of 1:41.40. He finished two and a half lengths ahead of TONE BROKE. V.I.P. TICKET finished third four and a half lengths behind the second place runner and fourth was TRIFOR GOLD followed by TOP LINE GROWTH.
$100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes
REAL NEWS went to the front to set a slow pace in the one-mile test. He maintained a two-length lead over THOMAS SHELBY, completing the half-mile in :48.70. In third, was ENGLISH BEE stalking under Jose Ortiz. Ortiz eased the colt out to the three path at the far turn and took over the lead by a head. When asked for more, ENGLISH BEE won his first stakes race by a half-length with a final time of 1:35.60. REAL NEWS finished second followed by SHOOTIN THE BREEZE.