5 Most Unforgettable Horses in Preakness History

The Preakness Stakes is one of the highly anticipated thoroughbred racing in the U.S. It is the second leg of the Triple Crown, which is annually held at Baltimore’s Pimlico Racecourse. The Preakness is a vital race toward winning the Triple Crown glory and can serve as an atonement for horses that either failed or missed the Kentucky Derby. 

The race is also best known for its thrilling down-to-the-wire and dramatic finishes. And over the years, several performances have remained the most memorable in Preakness history. 

Read on to see which horses made this list. 

Secretariat

Secretariat set monumental records in the Preakness Stakes, the Kentucky Derby, and Belmont Stakes. However, the horse’s triumph at the Preakness was clouded in controversy.

Originally, Secretariat was clocked at 1:55, which is a second short of the record. However, in 2012, the Maryland Racing Commission agreed with one accord that Secretariat’s course record time in the Preakness was faster than initially recorded. 

The electronic timer at the race reported a winning time of 1:55. Despite that, two private clockers from the Daily Racing Form recorded a winning time of 1:53 2/5. Then and there, the race track officials confessed that there were mitigating circumstances with the electric timer’s recording and changed the official time of the legendary colt to 1:54 2/5.

Hence, the Commission changed the valid time to 1:53, resulting in an unmatched best in Preakness history. To date, no one has beaten Secretariat’s record; check the odds on this years Preakness.

Afleet Alex

Afleet Alex’s victory in the 2005 Preakness Stakes stands out as one of the best races in history. The horse’s performance 16 years ago became one of the greatest because a local horse, Scrappy T, sideswiped him. 

Afleet Alex stumbled severely, and it almost made jockey Jeremy Rose fall off. But, to everyone’s surprise, Afleet Alex managed to pick himself up and went on to win the Preakness Stakes, displaying an astounding amount of determination and athleticism. He became a celebrated and crowd-pleasing horse because of this. 

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association voted the colt’s Preakness Stakes win as 2005’s Moment of the Year. What’s more, it was ranked number 54 in Horse Racing’s Top 100 Moments. His winning time was recorded at 1:55. 

Affirmed

Rivalries and feuds are what make sports thrilling to some people. The Yankees have the Red Sox, the Canadiens have the Bruins, and Affirmed has his rival Alydar. Even though the 1978 Preakness Stakes winner got most of the glory, his racing career was significantly established by his matchups with Alydar. 

The Pilmico grounds became the battlefield of a fierce rivalry on May 20, 1978, that would go down in history forever. And due to Affirmed’s great desire to win, his quality has carried him over one of the intense rivalries in sports. 

According to jockey Steve Cauthen, Affirmed knew he was special. So when they were coming behind the race, and Alydar was leading, Affirmed galloped in a blur. In the 1978 Preakness, only five horses attempted to challenge Alydar and Affirmed.

Even so, the race always felt like a two-horse race. The rivals accelerated toward the finishing line in a riveting duel. Affirmed stretched his neck out as far as possible, rushed over the finishing line, keeping a slight distance from Alydar just enough to bag the trophy. 

Bernardini

Another memorable horse in Preakness history is Bernardini, the 2006 winner. However, it is not because of the prowess Bernardini displayed as he went on to win at the start of what would be an unforgettable campaign. 

His triumph was charred by tragedy when Barbaro, Kentucky Derby winner, injured his right hind leg when he left the starting gate. All the attention and interest were on Barbaro’s struggle. And unfortunately, Bernardino’s triumph was principally overshadowed. 

Alysheba

Alysheba won the 1987 Preakness Stakes. The colt’s half-length triumph made him qualified to become a Triple Crown winner, which would be a first since Affirmed in 1978. Moreover, during the Preakness Stakes, Alysheba was surrounded by pessimism. 

For one thing, in the last 23 Triple Crown races, only three favorites had won. What’s more, the Preakness Stakes was only his third hard-hitting race in a month. But this didn’t cause any worries to the colt’s trainer because he believed that Alysheba was ready and fit for the race.

Alysheba’s winning time was 1:55 4/5, beating his rival Bet Twice again.

Final Thoughts

The Preakness Stakes is the shortest and second race of the Triple Crown. First established in 1873 at Pilmico, the race has produced some of the best performances in horse racing history. Legends were made over the years, and their victories will always be remembered. 

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