The Preakness Stakes, run at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course, is the second event in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. It is where Kentucky Derby winners come to prove they are worthy to be mentioned alongside the all-time greats.
When I watch horse racing, I like come-from-behind winners, especially when the outcome is in doubt as they turn for home. Over the years, the Preakness has produced many exciting finishes.
I invite you to click on the links (e.g. Secretariat - 1973) to watch, and relive, my five favorites:
5. Secretariat - 1973: True to form, Secretariat began in last place. Around the first turn he started passing, seeming to go faster and faster like the others were standing still. This one was not close at the wire, but makes my list as the Triple Crown winner posted the fastest time (1:53 2/5) in Preakness history. Three weeks later, he won the Belmont by an incredible 31 lengths.
4. Afleet Alex - 2005: Gaining ground inside, Afleet Alex moved to the outside around the final turn, about to take the lead, when Scappy T suddenly veered to the right. Afleet Alex's knees hit the ground and he was literally down and out -- except he wasn't. Recovering his balance, he exploded to a comfortable margin of victory.
3. Sunday Silence - 1989: Sunday Silence and Easy Goer battled nose-to-nose, stride-for-stride all the way down the stretch and to the wire. If there was another horse in the mix at the end, this may have been my No. 1 choice.
2. Curlin - 2007: Coming from way back, Curlin joined a four-horse fight coming out of the turn and looked to be taking the lead. Next thing you know, Street Sense surged ahead. It's rare for a horse to be passed in the final stretch and come back to win, but that's exactly what Curlin did, gaining the lead for the first time at the wire.
1. Silver Charm - 1997: Now this is what I'm talkin' about. In the final turn, it looked like nearly every horse in the field had a chance to win. Coming for home, Free House and Silver Charm opened a gap until Captain Bodgit turned on the jets. At the wire, we had the closest and most crowded finish in Preakness history.
What are your favorite finishes at the Preakness?
Harold Andrews will be watching once again, as the favorites and long-shots enter the gate, ready to cheer for another close finish at the Preakness.
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