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No Triple Crown this year doesn't mean rest of the season will lack thrills

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas and Preakness winner Seize the Grey celebrate the morning after the race. Photo courtesy of Pimlico Race Course
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas and Preakness winner Seize the Grey celebrate the morning after the race. Photo courtesy of Pimlico Race Course

May 20 (UPI) -- OK, so there's no Triple Crown winner again this year. But that doesn't mean the rest of the 3-year-old season is a bust. Far from it.

Seize the Grey indeed ended Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan's hopes of a series sweep by holding him off through the stretch to win Saturday's Preakness Stakes.

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But the two could meet again in three weeks' time in the Belmont Stakes, moved this year to Saratoga and shortened from 1 1/2 miles to 1 1/4 miles.

And that switch in conditions opens the race to many other rivals who would be less likely to tackle the longer trip, including Kentucky Derby second Sierra Leone and Catching Freedom, who fell just a head short of catching Mystik Dan for second at Pimlico after finishing fourth at Churchill Downs.

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Muth, banned from the Kentucky Derby and scratched from the Preakness with a fever, will be back sometime, somewhere, too.

And beyond the Belmont are the key summertime races for 3-year-olds, including the Haskell at Monmouth Park and the Travers, the "Midsummer Derby" back at Saratoga.

"When you win, you right away turn the page and say, where's the next one?'" said Seize the Grey's trainer, 88-year-old D. Wayne Lukas.

"But I want to look at him a little bit ... and I'm beginning to feel like Seize the Grey can run a mile and a half, and this year it's a mile and a quarter. I think, if they're going to beat him, they maybe should extend it back out a bit.

"You never know how many are going to go on, fresh ones," Lukas added. "Chad Brown is sitting there probably, Todd Pletcher, it's going to be a whole different field. We'll analyze everything."

Mystik Dan's trainer, Kenny McPeek, said he will send his charge up to Saratoga, but will wait "a week, 10 days, two weeks" before making a decision about the Belmont.

He added: "It's impossible to be disappointed about being involved with these kind of races and be competitive. One, they are hard races to get into. But to be competitive in them is a big deal. You just do your job and hope it's your turn."

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Meanwhile, Friday and Saturday's racing at Pimlico featured much more action. Santa Anita, Aqueduct and Churchill Downs had more yet.

Classic

Pyrenees rallied from mid-pack in Friday's $250,000 Grade III Pimlico Special, and then outfinished the odds-on favorite, Kingsbarns, to win by 3/4 length. The victory came in his first stakes race and gave trainer Cherie De Vaux a third stakes win on the program.

Also in the division:

On Saturday at Pimlico, Corporate Power won Saturday's $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes for 3-year-olds at Pimlico by a nose over Gould's Gold.

Distaff

On Friday at Pimlico, Gun Song won the $300,000 Grade II George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 3 1/4 lengths and Shotgun Hottie took the $100,000 Allaire Du Pont Distaff.

Turf / Turf Mile

Frankie Dettori rode Balnikhov for the first time in Saturday's $500,000 Dinner Party Stakes a Pimlico and romped home first by 1 1/2 lengths after trailing the field early.

Also in the division, former claimer Sugoi won Saturday's $250,000 Grade III Louisviile Stakes at Churchill Downs, and Fulmineo scored a 2 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes for 3-year-olds at Pimlico.

Filly & Mare Turf / Turf Mile

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Fluffy Socks ended a year-long win drought with a 7 3/4-lengths victory in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Gallorette Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse. On Friday, She Feels Pretty rallied through the stretch to win the $100,000 Hilltop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 5 3/4 lengths.

Turf Sprint

Future Is Now won Friday's $100,000 The Very One Stakes for fillies and mares at Pimlico by 2 1/4 lengths. Grooms All Business took Saturday's $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico by 1 1/2 lengths.

Miss Lizzy came from last of eight in Saturday's $100,000 Mizdirection Stakes down the Santa Anita hillside course by 1 3/4 lengths. King of Gosford was victorious by a neck in Sunday's $100,000 Desert Code Stakes for 3-year-olds down the hill.

At Aqueduct, Smokey Smokey prevailed by a neck in Sunday's $150,000 Paradise Creek Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Sprint

My Boy Prince, the massive favorite, won Sunday's $120,000 (Canadian) King Corrie Stakes for 3-year-olds at Woodbine. Frost Free got the job done in Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Chick Lang Stakes for 3-year-olds, winning by 1 1/2-lengths.

Super Chow won Saturday's $100,000 Maryland Sprint Stakes at Pimlico by 1 3/4 lengths from the favorite, Prevalence.

Filly & Mare Sprint

Leave No Trace took the lead at the top of the stretch and ran on to win Saturday's $175,000 Grade III Vagrancy Stakes at Aqueduct by 3/4 length.

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Mystic Lake took an early lead in Friday's $150,000 Grade III Miss Preakness Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico and won by 4 1/2-lengths over the favorite, Youalmosthadme.

On Saturday at Woodbine, Witwatersrand came from last of five to win the $100,000 (Canadian) Ruling Angel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 4 lengths.

Apple Picker scored a late-running, 1 3/4-length win in Saturday's $100,000 Skipat Stakes at Pimlico.

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