There will be no Triple Crown winner this year.
Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver faded while Lookin At Lucky, ridden by a new jockey, came from seventh halfway through the race to win the 135th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD, Sunday afternoon.
Lookin At Lucky, ridden by Martin Garcia, brought trainer Bob Baffert his fifth Preakness win. Baffert endured criticism after replacing Derby jockey Garret Gomez with Martin Garcia, but the switch seemed to change Lucky’s luck and the horse ran strong through the second half of the race.
“This means a lot to me,” Garcia told NBC. “This means a lot to me. I want to say thanks to Bob Baffert for giving me a chance to ride this beautiful horse.”
Lookin At Lucky had had several unproductive outings prior to the Preakness, including finishing sixth in the Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert tried a change of jockeys hoping it would bring a change of luck.
“I don’t think it was Gomez’s fault at the derby,” Baffert said, referring to the old jockey. “With Garcia we’ve been clicking, we’ve been winning, he’s been on this horse more than anyone else. He came out today to ride. He’s so young, he doesn’t realize the magnitude of this race. He rode a beautiful race.”
Great Day for a Great Race
Conditions at Pimlico couldn't have been more different than the wet and muddy Derby; the temperature was in the 70s and ther turf was dry and fast. It was the perfect weather for a horse race.
At the start, it was First Dude and Super Saver racing for the lead. First Dude took the inside and the lead, while Super Saver ran on the outside, unfamiliar territory for jockey Calvin Borel.
Halfway through the race the order was First Dude, Super Saver, Jackson Bend, and Caracortado.
With a little less than half-a-mile left in the 1 3/16-mile race, Martin opened up Lookin At Lucky and began moving up the outside, with Caracortado matching him stride for stride.
Coming around the final bend, Super Saver was fading while three horses—First Dude, Caracortado, and Lookin At Lucky—led the field down the back straight. Then Yawanna Twist made a move up the outside, closing strongly on the leading trio.
In the final sixteenth of a mile, it was First Dude dueling with Lookin At Lucky, with Jackson Bend and Yawanna Twist charging while Caracortado dropped back. Any of the first four looked able to win.
In the final yards, First Dude fell a length behind after having led the entire race, and Jackson Bend and Yawanna Twist couldn’t match the pace of the two leaders. Lookin At Lucky won pulling away and looking strong.
Super Saver Running on Empty
Super Saver looked "drawn" (unusually lean) before the race, possibly a sign that the horse hadn't fully recovered from running in the Derby and training for the Preakness.
After the race, jockey Calvin Borel discussed the performance of Super Saver, showing obvious affection for the horse.
“He had a perfect trip. I wouldn’t have changed it for nothing in the world,” Borel said. “He just come up a little empty. He run so hard in the Derby, you know, and he’s not a big horse. But when you win the Derby you’ve got to go for three legs.
“I am not disgusted with the horse, believe what I ‘m telling you. He’s a good horse, and we’ll have fun with him in the future, but he just come up empty today.”