It was an improvement over its fifth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby, but hardly a satisfying outcome for trainer Mike Harrington.
“He just got outrun,” Harrington said. “He always brings his best race. He just couldn’t outrun those horses today. What can you do?”
Harrington had no complaints about the effort of jockey Joel Rosario, who had Creative Cause in second place at the three-quarter pole but finished 8¾ lengths behind Bodemeister.
“You got to try to win the race. Joel Rosario tried to win the race,” Harrington said. “I have no regrets.”
Harrington figured Rosario’s hard charge took its toll on Bodemeister, who was overtaken by I’ll Have Another in the stretch.
“He probably won it for I’ll Have Another,” Harrington said.
RECORD CROWD: On a lovely afternoon and under a clear blue sky, a record crowd of 121,309 showed up at Pimlico Race Course to watch I’ll Have Another keep alive his Triple Crown hopes.
The 13-race card generated an all-sources handle of $80,463,005 – sixth highest in Preakness history.
“The numbers say it all. We had a tremendous event,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said.
DAY DIDN’T GO WELL: After starting as the third-favorite in the 11-horse field, Went the Day Well never got a sniff of the front-runners and finished a disappointing 10th.
The colt moved into a forward position four wide, then failed to respond to jockey John Velazquez in the far turn before falling back.
“He broke a little slow, but I put him right where I wanted to be,” Velazquez said. “In the first turn, I was right behind the leader, and by the backstretch, I was done. I mean, he didn’t respond at all for whatever reason. Very disappointing.”
The horse’s performance was sharply different than in the Derby, when he rallied from 17th place to finish fourth.
“No excuses,” trainer Graham Motion said. “Johnny said he ran out of horse before the backside. He ran flat.”
EARLY ARRIVAL: Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas arrived at Pimlico before the sun came up Saturday, just to make sure there were no unwelcome surprises awaiting him on the day of his 25th Preakness.
The 76-year-old horse racing legend said he set his alarm for 3:30 a.m. and was at the track at 4.
“I do that every day, no matter where I am,” Lukas said.
“I just want to make sure everything goes smooth here. By the time we get to this point, all we’re trying to do is make sure you don’t have anything upsetting happen.”
Lukas entered Optimizer in the Preakness, who went off a 23-1 and finished sixth.