The 72-hour period surrounding last week’s 139th running of the Preakness Stakes was interesting for many reasons, but the respective tales of two horses provided the most compelling news.
The Kentucky Derby winner who has quickly become a “people’s horse” with his easy victory at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May pulled out of town on Monday morning, bound for a new challenge over a new track that could add further allure to his expanding public profile.
As the realization of a lifelong dream unfolded before him on a soggy first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, Claude Ray “Shug” McGaughey was not watching from a warm and cozy spot on Millionaires Row, over even one of the Churchill Downs boxes in Section 318 where the connections of Kentucky Derby runners spend some of the most anxious two-minute increments of their lives.
The stylish victory by Reddam Racing’s I’ll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands was impressive but has failed chase opponents from the Preakness, the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown that will be run Saturday at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course.
The 2011 Triple Crown season ended last week with a running of the Belmont Stakes won by a 3-year-old that was the right horse on the day, but few aside from his owner and trainer could envision the victorious Ruler On Ice being a major factor in key events later in the year.