Preakness: Capturing Gray wins, ending Mystik Dan’s Triple Crown bid

Seize the Gray went down to the wire to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, giving 88-year-old Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas a seventh win in the race and ending Mystik Dan’s Triple Crown bid.

The gray colt took advantage of the muddy track just as Lucas had hoped he would, pulling off the upset with a second successive impressive start two weeks after running on the Derby undercard at Churchill Downs. Seize the Gray went off on a 9-1 drive, one of the longest shots on the board, moved to the lead and never looked back.

“I thought his actions at the back were beautiful, and I knew he was handling the track,” Lucas said. “I said, ‘Be careful, he won’t go fast.’”

Mystik Dan finished second in an eight-horse race that ran in the $2 million, 1 3/16-mile race. After failing to bounce back after winning by a nose in the Kentucky Derby, it would be a surprise if he ran in the Belmont Stakes on June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

“My filly is a fantastic foal and I’m proud of her,” said trainer Kenny McPeek. “It wasn’t his day, but he will live to race again.”

Seize the Gray was a surprise Preakness winner facing tougher competition than he had in the Pat Day Mile on May 4. Despite Lukas’s connection, it should never be a surprise when one of his horses is covered in a blanket of Black-Eyed Susan flowers.

No one in the race’s 149-year history has saddled more horses than Lucas’s 48 since his debut in 1980. He had two this time, with Just Steel finishing fifth, but Seize the Gray – owned by thousands of investors involved in The race MyRacehorse group took victory.

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“Can you imagine how many people will enjoy and enjoy this?” Lucas said. “I mean I don’t even know how many people own that horse. I don’t know. There’s a lot of people, I know that.”

Lukas has now won the Preakness seven times, one short of the record held by Triple Crown-winning trainer and close friend Bob Baffert, who finished seventh in Imagination. Baffert was also supposed to have two horses in the field and arguably the better ones, but morning line favorite Muth was scratched earlier in the week with a fever.

“I think they’re trying to get rid of me,” Lucas said. “Maybe they want me to retire. I don’t think it’ll happen. It never progresses at this level, and I love competing. I love being here with the rest of them.”

Moth’s absence left Mystic Dan the 2-1 favorite, but he and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. were unable to replicate the perfect Derby ride to win this race’s first triple-header since 1947. Instead, Jaime Torres rode Seize the Gray to victory in the first His Triple Crown race of any kind.

“I don’t have words,” said Torres, a native of Puerto Rico who didn’t start racing until he saw it on TV in late 2019. “I’m so excited, so excited, so grateful to all the people who supported me.” , helps me.”

It was the last Preakness held at Pimlico Race Course as it was before demolition began on the historic but deteriorating track, which will still hold its 150th edition mid-construction next year.

This process is already well underway at Belmont Park, which is why the final stage of the Triple Crown is being held at Saratoga for the first time and is shortened to 1 1/4 miles due to the shape of the track. Second-place Kentucky Derby outfit Sierra Leone, half a step away from victory, are expected to lead the field.

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