Unlike Lukas, who kept his horses at Churchill Downs until the Thursday before the Preakness, Zito brought Louis Quatorze to Baltimore two days after the Derby. For the next nine days Zito and his horse were virtually alone in the rundown Pimlico stakes barn. "We had our own private training center," Zito said, "and Louis reacted well." Upon arriving at Pimlico, Lukas insisted that he meant no disrespect toward Day. "I know I may have done Nick a big favor," he said. "But I made the decision, and I'll accept the consequences."
So last Saturday, while Lukas was tending to his three entrants, Day stood in the infield saddling area, listening intently as Zito issued his instructions. "I want him to get into the race quickly because there's no real speed in there," Zito told him.
Louis Quatorze got the lead easily. Although Day is best known for his patience—he has often been criticized for waiting too long to make his move—a rider doesn't win more than 6,000 races without knowing how to control a race on the lead. That is what Day did, adroitly guiding the colt through brisk fractions of : 23 for the first quarter mile, :46[1/5] for the half and 1:09[4/5] for six furlongs.
His 11 rivals bided their time, waiting for Louis to wilt. Through the final turn Day kept looking back to see who was coming. But all he saw was Skip Away. As the horses turned for home, Skip Away moved up alongside Louis Quatorze and looked quite capable of pounding past him. But after Day waved his whip next to his colt's head, Louis pulled away. At the wire he was 3� lengths ahead of Skip Away and another 14 ahead of Prince of Thieves, who finished seventh under Bailey.
Day's actions just past the finish line were more pointed than anything he said in his postrace press conference. He pumped his left fist three times, then held up five fingers in celebration of his fifth Preakness win. The message was clear: Take that, D. Wayne.
By the time he met with the press, however, Day's emotions were in check. "I'm not happy to see [Lukas's] streak end," he said, "but I'm glad that my streak continued."
O.K., Pat. Keep turning the other cheek if you must. But now that you've shown everyone that the Preakness is your race, there's only one more question: How can you let your agent drive a car like that?