By Dick Downey with content from Maryland Jockey Club release
On Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas will attempt to establish new marks in the Preakness and the Triple Crown races as a whole.
Baffert, 65, is of course scheduled to start Kentucky Derby winner Justify. Lukas, 82, plans to saddle Bravazo, sixth in the Derby, and Sporting Chance, fourth in the Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard.
If both Lukas horses go to the gate, it will be the 13th time Lukas has had two or more starters in a Preakness. Lukas has started a record 41 horses in 27 runnings of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. In addition to his six wins, he also has one second and five third-place finishes.
Baffert made his Preakness debut in 1996 with Cavonnier, who was fourth at Pimlico after losing the Derby by a nose to Grindstone. He's saddled a total of 18 horses in 16 editions of the Preakness and in addition to his six wins, he has one second and one third. His Preakness earnings are a record $4.4 million.
Overall Preakness Wins
Hall of Fame trainers both, Baffert or Lukas could tie a longstanding record at Pimlico on Saturday. With six Preakness wins each, they are second on the all-time win list, one behind Robert Wyndham Walden.
A denizen of racing in the 19th century and elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970, Walden – known best by his middle name – completed his run of seven Preakness winners 130 years ago. He won seven of 13 runnings of the Preakness beginning in 1875 and had a record five-straight wins from 1878 through 1882. All five in the streak were owned by sportsman and magnate George Lorillard.
Walden owned and operated Bowling Brook Farm in Middleburg, Md., not far from Baltimore. He also won the Belmont Stakes four times, and his son, also named Robert, won the 1899 Kentucky Derby with Manuel.
Overall Triple Crown Record
Baffert’s 21/2-length victory with Justified in the Kentucky Derby was his 13th Triple Crown victory, putting him in a tie for second with Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, whose training career spanned an incredible seven decades from 1894 to 1963. Fitzsimmons won the Preakness four times and is the only trainer to twice sweep the Triple Crown.
But it is Lukas who holds this record with 14 wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Baffert could tie that mark on Saturday.
Seeking Fifth Derby-Preakness Double
After a rare absence from Baltimore in 2017, Baffert will try to extend a personal streak of completing the Derby-Preakness double for the fifth time.
Baffert has never lost the Preakness with a Kentucky Derby winner. He opened that run with Silver Charm in 1997 and continued with Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002) and American Pharoah (2015). His other Preakness victories came in 2001 with Point Given, who was fifth in the Kentucky Derby, and 2010 with Lookin At Lucky, who finished sixth in the Derby after drawing the rail.
Lukas won with his first Preakness starter, Codex, in 1980, defeating the Derby-winning filly Genuine Risk in a highly controversial race. Many Observers felt that jockey Angel Cordero Jr. was far too aggressive in the stretch and carried Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk wide, inhibiting her chances of winning. She finished second by 4 3/4 lengths.
His other winners were Tank’s Prospect (1985); Tabasco Cat (1994); Timber Country (1995); Charismatic (1999); and Oxbow (2013).
Of Lukas's six Preakness winners, only one, Charismatic, was victorious in the Kentucky Derby. On Saturday, Lukas will try to pull yet another upset while Justify is likely to be the odds-on favorite.