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Forget the Triple Crown. Even the Derby-Preakness double has been too much to ask of late

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Preakness has turned into a quite a spoiler lately on the road to the Triple Crown.

20 May 2024
20 May 2024

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Preakness has turned into a quite a spoiler lately on the road to the Triple Crown.

Mystik Dan’s 2 1/4-length defeat Saturday marked the sixth consecutive year the Kentucky Derby winner failed to win the Preakness. This time it was Seize the Grey and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas who beat the Derby winner in the Triple Crown’s middle race at Pimlico.

Mystik Dan finished a solid second, but couldn’t catch the front-running Seize the Grey, who led wire to wire.

“I'm proud of my entire team. I've got people everywhere that are working their tail off that aren't here, and this game, it's a team effort,” said Kenny McPeek, Mystik Dan’s trainer. "My colt's a fantastic colt and proud of him. It just wasn't his day, but he'll live to race again."

After a dramatic Derby win in a three-horse photo finish, Mystik Dan was the Preakness favorite after Muth was scratched earlier in the week. Mystik Dan went off at 2-1 odds, but Seize the Grey seized the lead quickly and wasn’t under much pressure while running the first quarter-mile in 24.04 seconds. He finished a half-mile in 47.33, but with Mystik Dan positioned nicely near the rail, McPeek had reason to be hopeful.

"We anticipated that Seize the Grey was going to go, and honestly I didn't think he'd stay after going 47 and (1/5) or 47 and (2/5),” McPeek said. "But Wayne's an amazing guy. He's a guy that I've always idolized, and if I'm going to get beat, it's fine to get beat by him. Over the years, I've been beat by him plenty of times."

Mystik Dan made up ground on the leader and moved to the outside of Seize the Grey for the stretch, but Lukas’ horse had plenty left and gave the trainer his seventh Preakness victory. Mystik Dan barely held off Catching Freedom for second.

When Justify won the Triple Crown in 2018, it was the 11th time in 22 years that the same horse won the Derby and Preakness. But since then, no horse has done it.

The six straight years in which the Derby winner has failed to win the Preakness is the longest draught since it happened seven times in a row from 1990-96.

The muddy track Saturday seemed to be another factor in Mystik Dan’s favor since he’d won by eight lengths in the mud in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in February.

"I thought the gods of racing were helping him," Lukas said.

Brian Hernandez Jr., Mystik Dan’s jockey, felt good before Seize the Grey found a second wind.

"I'm like, 'OK, here we go. We're just going to cruise to him and we'll be able to run him down,'" Hernandez said. "But Lukas' horse sprinted on again when he turned for home. Our horse was running, we just couldn't run him down today."


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