Althea had very little. Swale had her turned inside out before they reached the middle of the turn, and once he ditched her, he was home free. As Swale took the lead, Stephens said, "He'll win by five! They'll all back up."
Pincay knew he had a horse under him. "Passing the quarter pole, he felt very strong," Pincay said. "He was pricking his ears."
By then, Pincay had done his good work, and he was just along for the ride. He had two lengths on Fight Over turning for home, when the fight was over, and about all Pincay did from there was wave the stick in front of Swale's left eye to keep his mind on his work. "When I showed him the whip, he was really responding," he said. He finished the 10 furlongs in 2:02[2/5], uninspired time compared to Secretariat's track record of 1:59[2/5], but it was inspired enough to beat these horses.
As Swale's definitive victory was no surprise, so it led to no real surprises. Stephens had originally planned to have Swale pass up the Preakness and instead run Devil's Bag in the second Triple Crown race. ( Seth Hancock had earlier said that the colts would never meet on the racetrack.) On Monday morning, however, Stephens revealed that a bone chip had been discovered in the Bag's right knee after an examination earlier that day, that he was being retired immediately to stud at Claiborne Farm and that Swale would be racing at Pimlico. It was certainly a convenient time to discover a chip.
Had Devil's Bag's form not improved greatly, he would have faced certain humiliation in the Preakness, while Swale—who not only has the best chance of any horse to win the Preakness, but is also the only horse who can still win the Triple Crown—munched hay in the barn. That would have made no sense. So, instead of having Devil's Bag's reputation further damaged in the Preakness, they will give Swale a chance to enhance his. It's an opportunity he has certainly earned. "I think I've got a hell of a chance to win the Triple Crown," Stephens said Monday. "I'm going to let Devil's Bag down a little and send him to Claiborne Saturday morning. He has shown he's a running horse. All he has to do now is have one good crop of horses."
"If it were another horse, you'd take the chip out and run him some more," Seth Hancock said, "but Devil's Bag is too valuable. It's a relief. We all knew what kind of horse he was last year. It was baffling to see him race this year. Now you've got the reason. It leaves you with mixed feelings."
In spite of this bad news, Swale's win was a grand moment for the Hancocks. Seth had bred and owned his first Kentucky Derby winner, just as brother Arthur had done in '82. Bull's widow, Wad-dell, said, "If Bull were here, he'd probably be mad he hadn't won the Derby himself, but he'd also have been proud of both of them.... If you want to give me a compliment, you can just say I'm broodmare of the year, and let it go at that."
"I haven't slept worth a damn for some time," Seth said after the Derby. "I won't sleep tonight. I guess I feel more relieved than anything else."
Pincay seemed relieved, too, that the job he had wanted most to do was done. The only thing troubling him on Saturday was that his wife, Linda, had undergone minor surgery the day before the Derby and wasn't in Louisville to share the time with him. Cindy Shoemaker, Bill's wife, embraced Laffit after the race, and he said, "If only Linda were here; she should be here now." Pincay has ridden in 11 Derbys, and this is the first she'd missed. So Cindy called Linda in California, and Linda said, "I hope you all come back to California on the same plane so you can celebrate together."
From Maple, of course, there was quite a different tune. After all, two months had taken him from Devil's Bag and Swale to At The Threshold. "I feel a lot bad," Maple said in the jocks' room after the Derby.