What does it take to win all three legs of the racing’s celebrated Triple Crown in racing? This could be a “hot topic” among race-goers. However, trainers and breeders know that the biggest ingredient, after all the bloodlines, care, training and investment, is often fate.
Talking about Animal Kingdom’s near win of this leg of the Triple Crown trainer Graham Motion summed up racing for Preakness.com, “There is no doubt in my mind, in another sixteenth of a mile we get there. That’s why it’s a Triple Crown. That’s why there are so many different intangibles to the Triple Crown. That’s why it hasn’t been done for so long.”
The running of the 136th Preakness at Pimlico race track, in Baltimore, Maryland, started with crowds and owners wondering if this was the year. It was not. But the talent in this year's racing field as a whole seems to stand out a bit more as a whole.
Shackleford won the Preakness in good form, regardless of the fact he slipped coming out of the number five position and about three strides out, took another odd step. He recovered quickly and ran a fast-paced race to win the Preakness.
Taking nothing away from Shackleford's win, a truly amazing run for the Preakness was turned in by trainer Graham Motion's Animal Kingdom. At one point in the race he was trailing by 17 lengths, well off the pace. Yet as he began his drive the power and determination of it was incredible! Perhaps the most exciting part of this race.
Animal Kingdom passed other horses easily. Had the race been even one furlong longer, we might have had a horse that could have worn the Triple Crown again. An outstanding run for the wire!
Shackleford's trainer Dale Romans is shipping the horse back to its home track in Lexington, Kentucky rather than going straight to the Belmont track to train. Romans wants Shackleford to work with his “home team” to assess his condition before the Belmont, according to bloodhorse.com.
After the race ends and the excitement eases, everyone returns to work. Humor helps cope with the situation whether one is in the winner's circle or not.
“I went to bed for an hour or two,” Romans said looking a bit bedraggled behind sunglasses on a sunny Sunday morning. “I don’t know how Todd Pletcher and Wayne Lukas do it. They look so pristine all the time. I walk out of my house to my car and I’m sweating and wrinkled and my shirttail’s out.
“Dan Bork [assistant racing secretary] at Churchill Downs said I was the best at making an expensive suit look cheap.” joked Romans, according to Preakness.com
Interesting Tidbits About Some of the Field
Shackleford’s owners named him after an island they own off the coast of North Carolina.
Shackleford was entered into the 2009 Yearling sale in September at Keeneland. The bidding did not meet the reserve bid of $275,000, so they bought him back for $275,000. It looks now that they were on the right side of the sale!
Animal Kingdom has many 'firsts' to his name. His breeding was for turf and he had never run on a dirt track until his impressive Derby win, at odds of 21-1.
Another set of firsts: he is the only horse since 1918, when Exterminator to win the Derby, with only four starts prior to the Derby. Needles, in 1956, was the last horse to win the Derby after a six-week layoff, until Animal Kingdom.
Mucho Macho Man is just reaching three full years old, having been born a late June foal. He also has had only nine starts in his racing career.
In the Louisiana Derby he showed his strength of will and heart, running the race after having pulled a shoe out of the gate, finishing in third place behind Pants On Fire.Trainer Kathy Ritvo, mother of three, was diagnosed with heart disease in 2001. She received her heart transplant in a Miami hospital in November 2008. Six months later she was back at the barn.
With this year's field of classy colts, the Belmont promises many more surprises!