Work in Sports
With a bullet
Red Bullet speeds to Preakness win
Posted: Wednesday May 24, 2000 09:39 AM
BALTIMORE (AP) -- With the finish line as a target, Jerry Bailey scored a bull's-eye with Red Bullet in the Preakness on Saturday, upsetting Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
Red Bullet, who had finished second to Fusaichi Pegasus April 15 in the Wood Memorial, took the lead from High Yield in the upper stretch. Once he got the lead, the outcome was never in doubt.
Fusaichi Pegasus went off as the 1-5 favorite and was the first Derby winner to be favored in the Preakness since 1994. The last odds-on favorite to win the race was Spectacular Bid, who scored at 1-10 in 1979.
"I've always been told, 'Don't duck one horse,' " trainer Joe Orseno said before the race when asked about taking on Fusaichi Pegasus again. "You can't say he's not beatable. These are race horses, not machines."
If there was a machine on this damp 54-degree day at Pimlico, it was Red Bullet.
Red Bullet and Fusaichi Pegasus, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, both moved at the same time on the final turn. But this time, Fusaichi Pegasus did not explode in the stretch as he did in the Derby.
So he saw his five-race winning streak snapped.
"When he didn't beat me to the quarter pole, I thought I had a pretty good chance," said Bailey, who put Red Bullet into the lead at that point.
The victory by Red Bullet, the 6-1 second choice, means the Triple Crown drought will be extended to at least 23 years. Affirmed was the last colt to win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1978.
Fusaichi Pegasus had been expected by many to become the fourth straight horse to have a shot at the Triple Crown in the Belmont.
Red Bullet finished 3 3/4 lengths in front of Fusaichi Pegasus, who was a head in front of Impeachment. Captain Steve was another neck back and was followed by Snuck In, Hugh Hefner, High Yield and Hal's Hope.
The winner, owned by Frank Stronach, paid $14.40, $3.20 and $2.80, and earned $650,000 to boost his career earnings to $963,800 on a records of four wins and a second in five starts. He did not race as a 2-year-old.
Red Bullet became the first Preakness winner not to have started in the Derby since Deputed Testamony won in 1983.
The winning time for the 1 3-16 miles on a track labeled as good after an almost daylong misty rain was 1:56.
"I think the track was a little greasy today," Desormeaux said. "I was moving with the winner on the far turn, but the winner was awesome today."
Fusaichi Pegasus paid $2.60 and $2.20, and Impeachment, who also finished third in the Derby, returned $3.60.
"This is not the first 2-5 horse I've had not to come through to expectations," said Neil Drysdale, Fusaichi Pegasus' trainer. "Red Bullet, he's a very talented horse. I've said that all along."
In suffering his first defeat in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Red Bullet had finished 4 1/4 lengths behind Fusaichi Pegasus.
Orseno said during the week that if Fusaichi Pegasus runs the same way he ran in the Wood and Red Bullet is finishing strongly, "I think we will go to the wire together."
Orseno was wrong. His colt got to the wire well ahead of the favorite.
Longshot Hugh Hefner broke on top and led the field past the finish line the first time and into the clubhouse turn. With three-quarters of a mile left, Captain Steve took the lead and kept it until Hugh Hefner regained it at the half-mile pole.
Red Bullet and Fusaichi Pegasus were among the trailers down the back stretch but both were running comfortably.
Then, when the field hit the turn, the favorites got into gear.
"The stage was set at the three-eighths pole," Desormeaux said. "He went inside and I went around horses. We both pushed the button at the same time."
But this time, Bailey got much more of a response than Desormeaux.
"No excuses," said Desormeaux.
The 42-year-old Bailey, who rode War Chant to a ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, got the mount on Red Bullet when Alex Solis rode Aptitude in the Derby and also committed to ride that colt in the Belmont Stakes June 10.
"My biggest concern was to get the jump on Fusaichi Pegasus. I knew if I could beat him to the quarter pole I could beat him to the wire," Bailey said.