Oxbow and Gary Stevens ruin the Orb Triple Crown party

  • David Whitlock

preakness_logoAfter going off as a 3:5 favorite, Kentucky Derby winner Orb laid a zero (especially for bettors) on Pimlico Race Course as Oxbow beat the field by 1 3/4 lengths to win the 138th Preakness Stakes.  The win ended Orb’s bid for the first Triple Crown since 1978.   Oxbow, ridden by the veteran Hall of Famer, 50-year-old Gary Stevens took the lead after the front stretch and fended off all challengers throughout the 1 3/16 mile course.   Oxbow was a juicy bet at 15:1 and gave Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas his sixth Preakness win, and 15th Triple Crown victory.  Calumet Farms, the owner of Oxbow, has won 8 Preakness Stakes, it was the third Preakness for Stevens and his ninth Triple Crown mount.

Bettors seemed to think the race would be nothing more than a coronation of Orb to set up a showdown at Belmont with the Triple Crown on the line.  However, Oxbow, who hadn’t won in his last four starts, including a sixth place finish at Churchill downs (albeit a deep field), spoiled the oddsmakers (and horse racing fans starving for a triple crown) fun and looked like the best horse on the track and it wasn’t even close.

Oxbow and Stevens Cross the finish line Credit: USA Today Sports

Oxbow and Stevens Cross the finish line
Credit: USA Today Sports

Stevens had come out of an 8-year retirement in early 2013 after seeing other veteran jockeys have success.  An experienced rider like Stevens is just the kind of jockey who can win with a horse who may not have the most raw talent, but if ridden well, can win any race on any given day.  It was Stevens second win of the afternoon, the other also on a long shot Sky Ring (24:1) in the Dixie Stakes.  He’s great for horse racing, and he was great today.

Orb had room on the back stretch and seemed to be gaining on the leaders, but then seemed out of gas and trapped and never made a serious run.  Orb finished 9 lengths back in 4th and out of the money.

-Dave (@lhd_on_sports)

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