BALTIMORE — Rosie Napravnik had to settle for a third-place finish in her first Preakness ride.
Napravnik won her first career race at Pimlico Race Course and was hoping to become the first female in history to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. A poor start aboard Mylute spoiled the plan.
“He was very sluggish out of the gate for the first quarter of a mile,” Napravnik said after Saturday’s race. “Then he got going. I was too far back to see who the leaders were. This was a tough pace to follow. But he ran great down the lane and closed well.”
Trainer Tom Amoss had no complaints.
“We were probably at the biggest disadvantage of all, coming from way back and being the widest in the race,” Amoss said. “We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.”
NO HISTORY MADE, PART 2: Kevin Krigger was attempting to become the first African-American jockey to win the Preakness since 1898.
He finished fifth aboard Goldencents after riding second behind winner Oxbow at the three-quarters pole.
“I thought Kevin had him a great spot and when the winner kicked there, we just couldn’t keep up with him,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “I’m very proud of Kevin and the horse.”
Krigger, however, was disappointed.
“He didn’t run his race today,” the jockey said. “We were expecting him to run very well here, but it just doesn’t happen sometimes.”
BIG CROWD: A crowd of 117,203 showed up at Pimlico on an overcast day. It was the fourth-largest attendance figure in the history of the Preakness.
The handle was $81,940,233, including a whopping $50,251,542 on the Preakness alone.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, Pimlico instituted stricter rules and beefed up security.
Backpacks over a certain size were not permitted, bags were inspected and everyone was checked by personnel with handheld metal detectors.
“Our main priority is the safety and the security of the people here,” said Tom Chuckas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club. “We take every step. I think you can say there’s probably about 50 percent more law enforcement people involved in some capacity. Some seen, some not seen.”
He said three people were evicted from the infield before noon.
MIXED BAG FOR BAFFERT: Long before racing began on Saturday, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert revealed the main reason why he’s won the Preakness five times.
“I’ve brought some really good horses,” he said. “If you bring the best horse, you usually win.”
He was hoping for the best with Govenor Charlie, but acknowledged, “He’s never run against this caliber of horses before, so it’s going to be a big step up for him.”
And so it was. Govenor Charlie finished eighth, ahead of only Titletown Five.
“If they would have yelled ‘about face’ I would have won easy at the wire,” Baffert joked afterward. “My horse missed the break and never really was in the race.”
It wasn’t an entirely lost weekend. Baffert’s horse won the Black-Eyed Susan on Friday and he saddled the winner of the Chick Lang Stakes (Zee Bros) on Saturday.
WIN SOME, LOSE SOME: When’s the last time this happened? D. Wayne Lukas had the winning horse in the Preakness and the last-place finisher.
The Hall of Fame trainer proudly walked into the winner’s circle after Oxbow won the race, but he also saddled Titletown Five, who justified his stature as the long shot in the field.
Lukas also had Will Take Charge, who took seventh.
Still, it was a great week for Lukas in Baltimore, and he hopes to return soon.
“I was talking to my girlfriend and said that it’s really unfair that I’m not able to run you down to the (Inner) Harbor and let you see some of the sights and do some of the stuff that Baltimore has to offer,” he said.
”I said maybe when we don’t have so much going on, or if I have only one (horse) in and we don’t have to be so tied to the barn, if you’ll come back we’ll try to do a little more.”