Oxbow holds rivals safe while Orb is fourth

After a chalkfest yesterday — fave after fave after fave — the longshots struck back today at Pimlico.

Skyring wired the field in the Grade 2 Dixie on the turf, with Gary Stevens aboard — a bit of foreshadowing there — and paid mjc scaled Preakness138colorpos72astute handicappers more than $50 on a $2 win ticket.  He also ran his record on the Pimlico green stuff t0 two-for-two.In the main event — the Grade 1, $1 million Preakness Stakes — Stevens again nursed his horse, Oxbow, to an early lead which he would not relinquish.  In a race that figured to have plenty of speed, Stevens and Oxbow seized the early advantage and went at a moderate 24-48-1:13 tempo through the opening three-quarters.

“He didn’t get a lot of respect even after his great performance [in the Derby],” said Stevens.  “When I hit the half-mile pole, I said, ‘Are you kidding me?  Is this happening?  The race was over at that point.”

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas agreed.  “I think I got a Hall of Fame ride,” he observed.

Oxbow ponied onto the track.  Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Oxbow ponied onto the track. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Hot favorite and Derby champion Orb struggled.  Towards the rear early, he made a move towards the leaders nearing the far turn but made no further progress.

“I get paid to spoil dreams,” Lukas noted.  “You can’t mail it in.  It’s a different surface, a different time.  You gotta  line them up and run them.”

In the stretch, Oxbow held his rivals safe.  Fellow longshots Itsmyluckyday and Mylute rallied into the place and show spots.  Oxbow paid $32.80 to win and capped an exacta of of $301.40 and a triple of more than $2,000.