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An unforgettable performance by Seize The Grey and a spectacular race call from Larry Collmus made Preakness #149 about as exciting as it gets. Collmus was criticized for missing Mystik Dan sneaking down the rail in Kentucky Derby #150 two weeks ago. Yesterday, he put that hiccup to rest. If you have not seen the race and heard the call, I highly recommend you take a moment and do so. You will thank me later.

Seize The Grey won the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Iconic Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas wheeled him back on two weeks rest and he ate up the cuppy, muddy ground that is Pimlico like Pac-man. 
Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan held second with the late-charging Catching Freedom getting up for a very close third. The top three finishers ran their eyeballs out on Derby Day and came back to perform well in Baltimore. Hmmm. Does that mean the time between Triple Crown races is not an issue, or does it simply mean that these horses significantly outclassed the rest of the field? I say the latter. 
Highly controversial trainer Bob Baffert brought two colts to Baltimore for the Preakness. His best horse, Muth, spiked a fever of 103 shortly after arriving and had to be scratched from the race. Shipping fever is both common and unfortunate. Baffert was left with his second string horse, Imagination, and the iconic European jockey Frankie Dettori up. Dettori is one of the two top grass riders in the world. But his lack of experience with these kinds of high-level dirt races showed. Imagination’s breeding suggested he would relish the mud. His dam sire is Empire Maker! When he broke decently and got the stalking position just behind Sieze the Grey, I expected him to finish on the board. But then Dettori took him back a bit and out of his game. And, while Mystik Dan and Seize The Grey were saving ground, he was not. 
I was pretty high on Imagination as Baffert has won this race so many times; and, he had a fresh horse bred for the mud. However, in his last-minute interview prior to the race, I did not hear the confidence level I needed to put money on that horse. He had a second stringer and a grass jockey…and he knew it. 
The betting public had been high on trainer Chad Brown’s horse, Tuscan Gold all week. Chad Brown and a fresh horse in the second jewel of the Triple Crown has historically been a winning combination. But Tuscan Gold absolutely hated that track and it was apparent at the first call. He still finished a respectable fourth and should be a nice horse for the connections going forward. 
Finally, a word about the disparity in ages between the Preakness winning trainer and jockey. D.Wayne Lukas is 88 years old. Jockey Jaime Torres is 25. This was obviously not the trainer’s first “rodeo” at the Triple Crown level. It was , however, a first for the young jockey. 
Lukas still gets on his pony in the mornings. He’s there before daylight and always has been. When he trained a horse for me i had to get up and get out there at the crack of dawn, literally, to see my horse on the track. My friend, John Day in New York had the best take on Lukas. He said, “If I can get a leg up on a pony at 88, then that will have been a life well-lived.”
Indeed. Congrats to all…old and young!

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