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Oaklawn Park broke its maiden in the Triple Crown series, so to speak, in the 1976 Preakness.

Elocutionist, ridden by John Lively, became the first Oaklawn-raced winner in the spring classics, paying $22.20 to win. He finished 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Play the Red -- whose jockey, Jean Cruguet, would ride Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew a year later -- with Kentucky Derby winner Bold Forbes third. Honest Pleasure, favored despite his Derby second, beat only one horse in the field of six 3-year-olds.


Preakness winners

1976 *Elocutionist

1984 Gate Dancer

1985 *Tank’s Prospect

1992 *Pine Bluff

2004 *Smarty Jones

2005 *Afleet Alex

2007 *Curlin

2009 Rachel Alexandra

2010 Lookin At Lucky

2013 Oxbow

2015 *American Pharoah

* Won Arkansas Derby.

Elocutionist, the Arkansas Derby winner for owner Eugene Cashman and trainer Paul Adwell, benefited in the Preakness from a speed duel between Bold Forbes, who would win the Belmont Stakes for trainer Laz Barrera, and Honest Pleasure. Barrera would win a second Derby and the 1978 Triple Crown with Affirmed while Honest Pleasure's Leroy Jolley, whose Foolish Pleasure wore roses at Churchill Downs in 1975, would do it again in 1980 with the filly Genuine Risk.

It would be 1980 before another Oaklawn-raced horse won a spring classic, Arkansas Derby winner Temperence Hill taking the Belmont Stakes after missing the first two legs. Canadian champion Sunny's Halo came to Arkansas to prep for the series and, as the 1983 Arkansas Derby winner, became the first Oaklawn-raced horse to capture the Kentucky Derby.

One of four Oaklawn-raced horses in Preakness 144 Saturday can become the 12th such winner of the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Improbable, the likely favorite, represents Hall of Fame trainer and seven-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert. The City Zip colt finished second to Long Range Toddy in the first division of the Grade 2 Rebel March 16 and second to Omaha Beach in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby April 13. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who rode since-sidelined Omaha Beach at Oaklawn, picks up the mount on Improbable, elevated to fourth place in the Kentucky Derby.

Others in the race with Oaklawn ties are three-time meet winner Laughing Fox, two-time winner Warrior's Charge and maiden winner Market King. Laughing Fox qualified for the Preakness with his May 4 victory in the inaugural Oaklawn Invitational. Alex and JoAnn Lieblong, of Conway, own the Union Rags colt, trained by Hall of Famer and two-time Preakness winner Steve Asmussen.

The last Preakness-winning owner from Arkansas is John Ed Anthony, of Hot Springs, with the ill-fated Prairie Bayou in 1993. Anthony also campaigned 1992 Preakness winner Pine Bluff, who like Prairie Bayou was trained by Tom Bohannan. Pine Bluff, with Chris McCarron up, avenged a Derby defeat to Lil E. Tee after outdueling Magnolia owner Cal Partee's colt in the Arkansas Derby under Jerry Bailey. Smith notched his first of two Preakness victories with Prairie Bayou, who tragically broke down in the Belmont Stakes three weeks later.

Smarty Jones, then the most popular horse in America, won the 2004 Preakness by a record 11 1/2 lengths with Stewart Elliott riding for trainer John Servis. On Monday of Preakness week, in a special ceremony at Parx Racing outside Philadelphia, owners Roy and Patricia Chapman received a $5 million bonus check from Oaklawn president Charles J. Cella for their horse's sweep of the Rebel, Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby in the track's centennial racing season.

Smarty Jones came up short in his Triple Crown bid, finishing a length behind Birdstone at New York's Belmont Park. American Pharoah checked that box in 2015 as the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, the Baffert trainee prepping at Oaklawn with victories in the Rebel and Arkansas Derby under Victor Espinoza.

The Baffert-trained Rebel winner Lookin At Lucky won the 2010 Preakness under Martin Garcia, representing the third Oaklawn-raced Preakness winner in four years.

Curlin, Arkansas Derby and Rebel winner in 2007, bounced back from a Kentucky Derby third-place finish to win the classic with Robby Albarado.

Rachel Alexandra became the first Preakness-winning filly in 85 years in 2009 in her first start for Asmussen, Curlin's trainer. The filly was sold after her record Kentucky Oaks victory for trainer Hal Wiggins, who won the Fantasy and Martha Washington at Oaklawn with the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro. Choosing Rachel Alexandra, Hall of Famer Calvin Borel became the first jockey to take off a Derby winner for a Preakness rival (Mine That Bird, upset winner at Churchill Downs, was second at Pimlico).

Afleet Alex, the Arkansas Derby and Mountain Valley winner at Oaklawn, kept his balance when nearly falling at the head of the stretch and won the 2005 Preakness under Jeremy Rose. Oaklawn-raced Oxbow got loose on the lead in 2013 and made Preakness winners of Hall of Famers Wayne Lukas and jockey Gary Stevens.

Lukas' second Preakness winner came in 1985 with Arkansas Derby star Tank's Prospect, recovering from throat surgery and prevailing at Pimlico under Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day's left-handed urging.

Sports on 05/16/2019

Print Headline: Preakness productive stop for Oaklawn horses

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