Creative Cause is 3rd, trainer has 'no regrets'
BALTIMORE (AP) - Creative Cause finished third in the Preakness, an afterthought in the duel to the wire between winner I'll Have Another and Bodemeister.
It was an improvement over Creative Cause's fifth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby, but hardly a satisfying outcome for trainer Mike Harrington.
"He just got outrun,'' Harrington said. "He always brings his best race. He just couldn't outrun those horses today. What can you do?''
Harrington had no complaints about the effort of jockey Joel Rosario, who had Creative Cause in second place at the three-quarter pole but finished 8 3/4 lengths behind Bodemeister.
"You got to try to win the race. Joel Rosario tried to win the race,'' Harrington said. "I have no regrets.''
Harrington figured Rosario's hard charge took its toll on Bodemeister, who was overtaken by I'll Have Another in the stretch.
"He probably won it for I'll Have Another,'' Harrington said.
RECORD CROWD: On a lovely afternoon and under a clear blue sky, a record crowd of 121,309 showed up at Pimlico Race Course to watch I'll Have Another keep alive his Triple Crown hopes.
The 13-race card generated an all-sources handle of $80,463,005 - sixth highest in Preakness history.
"The numbers say it all. We had a tremendous event,'' Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said.
DAY DID NOT GO WELL: After starting as the third-favorite in the 11-horse field, Went the Day Well never got a sniff of the front-runners and finished a disappointing 10th.
The colt moved into a forward position four wide, then failed to respond to jockey John Velazquez in the far turn before falling back in the pack.
"He broke a little slow, but I put him right where I wanted to be,'' Velazquez said. "In the first turn, I was right behind the leader, and by the backstretch, I was done. I mean, he didn't respond at all for whatever reason. Very disappointing.''
The horse's performance was sharply different than in The Kentucky Derby, when he rallied from 17th place to finish fourth.
"No excuses,'' trainer Graham Motion said. "Johnny said he ran out of horse before the backside. He ran flat.''
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas arrived at Pimlico before the sun came up Saturday, just to make sure there were no unwelcome surprises awaiting him on the day of his 25th Preakness.
The 76-year-old horse racing legend said he set his alarm for 3:30 a.m. and was at the track at 4.
"I do that every day, no matter where I am,'' Lukas said. "I just want to make sure everything goes smooth here. By the time we get to this point, all we're trying to do is make sure you don't have anything upsetting happen.''
Lukas entered Optimizer in the Preakness, who went off a 23-1 and finished sixth.
"The two times I saw him go by he looked fine,'' Lukas said. "I thought he had a chance.''
The day wasn't a total loss for Lukas. His wait for a victory in a graded race ended when Hamazing Destiny won the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap. Lukas had gone 116 graded stakes without a victory before Hamazing Destiny won for the first time in 11 races since September 2010.
"It's a good way to start the day,'' he said.
STALL 40: Tradition mandates that the Kentucky Derby winner resides in Stall 40 at the Preakness Stakes Barn.
Doug O'Neill, the trainer of I'll Have Another, opted to keep his Derby-winning horse in a Barn D at Pimlico.
So what of Stall 40, the temporary home of such great horses such as Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid?
Zetterholm, a 20-1 shot in the Preakness, took residence in the prestigious stall. Zetterholm arrived in Baltimore with a three-race winning streak, and owner Anthony Grey hoped some of the history from Stall 40 might rub off onto his entrant.
"I want to win a big one,'' Grey said before the race. "He's a late April foal, so he's a late-maturing horse. He's a stretch-running horse. Hopefully, it's our turn to shine.''
Shine? Well, that depends on one's perspective. Zetterholm finished fourth after going off at 20-1.
"We're happy,'' trainer Richard Dutrow said afterward. "He's not supposed to beat the top two, so we are really pleased with the way he ran today.''