Lookin At Lucky wins the Preakness

By Steve Ginsburg

BALTIMORE (BestGrowthStock) – Lookin At Lucky returned to form after a disappointing Kentucky Derby to win the $1 million Preakness Stakes on Saturday and decisively pull the plug on Super Saver’s bid for the elusive Triple Crown.

Bob Baffert-trained Lookin At Lucky, ridden masterfully by Martin Garcia, outdueled First Dude in the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length as the second favorite in the field of 12.

“He’s a cool horse,” Baffert said after his fifth Preakness win. “He’s just a really great athlete. I mean, he’s one of the best horses I’ve ever had. It’s amazing. He’s still a baby.”

Derby winner Super Saver, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Calvin Borel, trailed only First Dude at the far turn but tired badly and finished eighth.

“When he went to the far turn you could see that Calvin was squeezing and asking him to go get that horse and he just couldn’t do it,” said trainer Todd Pletcher.

“He hung in there. He kept fighting. He tried hard. Coming off a huge effort in the Derby, the two weeks was too short.”

Jackson Bend finished third in the mile-and-three-sixteenths race, a head behind First Dude, while New York-bred Yawanna Twist placed fourth on a sun-drenched day at Pimlico Race Course.

Lookin At Lucky stalked the leaders for much of the race, sitting in fifth place along the far turn, before making his move at the top of the stretch.

The Kentucky-bred winner of the Grade II Rebel Stakes battled stride-for-stride with an unflinching First Dude before finding another gear at the sixteenth pole.

‘LIGHT HANDS’

First Dude trainer Dale Romans said his Florida-bred colt by Stephen Got Even gave everything he had for jockey Ramon Dominguez.

“First Dude is a serious, confident, aggressive horse who can compete with the best,” said Romans. “He ran super. Ramon said he didn’t want to give up the lead.

“He kept his path. He just couldn’t hold off the winner.”

Lookin At Lucky had a rough trip over a sloppy Churchill Downs track in the Derby and finished sixth, prompting Baffert to replace veteran Garrett Gomez with the 25-year-old Garcia.

“He’s got very light hands,” Baffert said of Garcia. “He’s got a gift, like all the great ones. He really places the horses in the right spots. They run for him.”

Lookin At Lucky, a bay colt out of Smart Strike, paid $6.80, $4.60 and $3.80 for a $2 ticket. First Dude returned $16.60 and $9.20, while Jackson Bend paid $6.60.

The winning time of 1:55.47 on a fast track was well off the Preakness record of 1:53 2/5 held by Curlin (2007), Louis Quatorze (1996) and Tank’s Prospect (1985).

Jackson Bend jockey Mike Smith said with a cleaner trip he could have made it to the winner’s circle.

“I’m not taking anything away from the winner but I think I was on the best horse today,” he said. “I just had to wait for some room. But when I got it, I was in deep stretch and it cost me. He ran dynamite.”

The final leg of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, the mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes, will be run June 5 at Belmont Park in New York.

The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.

Stock Research

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Lookin At Lucky wins the Preakness