BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Oxbow, a 15-1 longshot ridden masterfully by 50-year-old Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, cruised to an easy, wire-to-wire victory in the $1 million Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained bay bolted to the lead under cloudy skies and chilly temperatures at Pimlico Race Course and never tired, finishing 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Itsmyluckyday.
Rosie Napravnik guided Mylute to a third-place finish, while Kentucky Derby champion Orb finished fourth, tiring in the stretch and never getting into contention under Joel Rosario.
The victory Lukas’s 14th in Triple Crown races, including his sixth trip to the Preakness winner’s circle. Stevens, who came out of retirement last year, won his third Preakness.
The triumph was the first wire-to-wire victory in the Preakness since Aloma’s Ruler in 1982.
Oxbow finished sixth in the Derby two weeks ago at Churchill Downs.
“He didn’t get a lot of respect even after his great performance in the Derby,” said Stevens. “We came back and breezed him on Monday and what you see now is exactly how he acted in his workout.
“When I hit the half-mile pole, I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Is this happening?’ The race was over at that point. I just walked the dog to the half-mile pole.”
Orb opened at the inside one post and immediately fell back to sixth in the nine-horse race.
His fourth-place finish ensures that a Triple Crown champion will have to wait another year. The last horse to win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes was Affirmed in 1978.
The Belmont Stakes will be on June 8 at Belmont Park in New York.
Oxbow’s winning time for the mile-and-three-16th race was 1:57:54.
Editing by Gene Cherry