COMMENTARY | As the 2013 Preakness Stakes post positions, betting odds, morning lines and hat predictions dominate news headlines, one question emerges from the noise: What are the most memorable races ever? While Secretariat, Affirmed and, most recently, I'll Have Another are staple names, one horse gets lost in the fray.
Here are my top five finishes of all time:1. Tabasco Cat, 1994: Five-time Preakness winners, D. Wayne Lukas (trainer) and Pat Day (jockey) teamed up that year and celebrated a rare finish. Having pulled the dreaded inside post position (1), Tabasco Cat rallied to win the second leg of the Triple Crown. It is the only horse to do so over the last 53 years.
While it ran the 1 3/16-mile race in 1:56.40, it entered a small club of horses to finish in the first post. Bally Ache won the Preakness from inside the rail in 1960.
2. Secretariat, 1973: Ridden by jockey Ron Turcotte, the chestnut colt became the ninth U.S. horse to win the Triple Crown of horse racing. Secretariat got off to a slow start from the gate, but came from behind in the far turn and never looked back. The racehorse won the Preakness by a margin of 2 1/2 lengths at the Pimlico Race Course.
After years of controversy stemming from its finish, a panel convened in 2012 and finally ruled that Secretariat ran the fastest time (1:53.00) in the history of the race. The record still stands.
3. Canonero II, 1971: While the horse-racing establishment balked at the idea that the Venezuelan-bred thoroughbred was included in any conversations among possible Preakness winners, the horse with the crooked foreleg won. Although he was a longshot to win the Kentucky Derby, Canonero II left many with the "deer in the headlights look." Then, at the 96th Preakness Stakes, he made quick work of Eastern Fleet at the 16th pole by winning the race by 1 1/2 lengths, which set a track record at the time of 1:54.00.
I think of him as the "little engine that could."
4. Affirmed, 1978: Many remember this race because it was the eighth of 10 meetings between Affirmed and Alydar. While one came close but no cigar, the other made its mark in the winner's circle at Pimlico. After watching the vintage video, it was clear the race was over from the start; Affirmed set the pace and held the lead. However, as all horses approached the last turn, Alydar made a last-ditch effort to overtake the Kentucky Derby winner.
They met again two weeks later at the Belmont Stakes. Affirmed won by a nose and became the 11th and most recent Triple Crown winner.
5. Hansel, 1991: In my opinion, what makes this Preakness finish so special is how this horse overcame odds after placing 10th in the Kentucky Derby, despite being the betting favorite. He grew tired a mile into the race.
However, two weeks later at Pimlico, it was an about-face for the horse and jockey. He was not only declared the Preakness winner, but Hansel also won the race by seven lengths and finished with a time of 1:54.00. Not many saw that coming. Imagine that?
What are your thoughts about my top five Preakness Stakes finishes of all time? Share your short list of names.
When is the 138th Preakness Stakes 2013 horse race? May 18, 2013
The Preakness 2013 post time: 6:05 p.m. ET.
Bradley is a professional writer, journalist, sportswriter, and avid fan of the NBA, NFL, PGA, horse racing and all things tennis. He keeps a watchful eye on the Miami Heat and thoroughbred racing developments.
- Sports & Recreation
- Horse Racing
- Preakness Stakes
- Tabasco Cat