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Legendary Hooves: Top 5 Unforgettable Horses in Preakness History

The Triple Crown has three races: the Kentucky Derby, known for its tradition and history; the Belmont Stakes, known for its grueling mile and a true test of champions; and, of course, the Preakness Stakes, known as the middle child of the Triple Crown. 

The Preakness Stakes is a necessary second step toward the final race of the Triple Crown. However, with only two weeks between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, many consider the second leg their redemption race for those who either failed or missed their chance in the Run for the Roses. 

In May 2024, we will witness the top horses for the Triple Crown in the Kentucky Derby on May 4 and, finally, the middle child, the Preakness Stakes, on May 17 to 18. It’s a two-day race with exciting races, and plenty of horses have made their mark.

Secretariat

Every horse racing fan knows the name Secretariat, which has become synonymous with the Triple Crown Series. Indeed, his most iconic victory throughout his career was in the Belmont Stakes. Despite this, he’s still one of the most unforgettable horses in the Preakness Stakes. 

Secretariat’s participation in the Preakness Stakes in 1973 was a momentous event, but its true significance was not fully realized until 2012. After a thorough review, the Maryland Racing Commission decided to amend the time from 1:154 ⅖ to 1:53, stating that it had been incorrectly clocked. This decision corrected a historical inaccuracy and underscored the enduring impact of the Secretariat’s performance.

Secretariat’s dominance was not confined to the Kentucky Derby, where he annihilated the field. He continued his winning streak, claiming the second jewel of the Triple Crown and etching his name in the hearts of horse racing fans. 

His races, even today, serve as a beacon of inspiration for horses and jockeys and influence Preakness horses odds. Many believe that a Triple Crown winner would merely hint at Secretariat’s true dominance on the racing tracks. 

Afleet Alex

Spectators didn’t expect Afleet Alex to be one of the best horses to win the Preakness Stakes, especially since he placed third in the Kentucky Derby. However, Afleet Alex proved everyone wrong in the 2005 Preakness Stakes in a memorable way. 

This son of Northern Afleet, trying to make amends for the previous leg of the Triple Crown, began to make his move and angled to the middle to begin his rally. And then, disaster struck Afleet Alex and his jockey. 

Scrappy T, another competing horse, ducked out in front of Afleet Alex, which caused Afleet to clip heels. As a result, he stumbled pretty badly, nearly unseating jockey Jeremy Rose and almost falling himself. Thankfully, he returned to his position and returned to win the race.

It was pretty nerve-wracking for spectators to witness it. Indeed, horse racing is full of excitement and thrill. lengths

Affirmed

We can all agree that rivalries excite sports, including horse racing. If you liked watching past performances of legendary horses, you would know that Affirmed and Alydar were arch-nemesis. Indeed, Affirmed got most of the glory, but his career was mostly tied to his matchups with Alydar.

Affirmed, together with his jockey, held off Alydar and won the Kentucky Derby or the Run for the Roses. Affirmed won the race by just 1 ½ lengths over his rival. 

Finally, these rivals met again in the Preakness Stakes for the eighth time in their rivalry’s history. Affirmed was quick enough to get out of the gate and established command of the tracks early, enabling him to hold off his rival by the heck. 

After this, the two rivals met again in the Belmont Stakes, with Affirmed having the advantage. 

Rachel Alexandra

Rachel Alexandra, the winner of the 2009 Preakness Stakes, made a memorable race where he won over the boys and got her name in the history books. This 2009 Preakness was quite memorable as Rachel Alexandra defeated the Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird, by a length. 

Rachel Alexandra solidified herself as one of the most outstanding fillies in horse racing history. With this win, she became the fifth filly in history to win in the Preakness Stakes and the first since 1924.

Spectacular Bid

The Spectacular Bid seemed like the heir apparent to the throne, just after the Triple Crown winners Secretariat, Affirmed, and Seattle Slew. After winning the Kentucky Derby, he was among the most popular horses on the track for the Preakness Stakes. 

Spectacular Bid won the Preakness Stakes much faster than his Triple Crown predecessors and secured himself as the horse everyone should beat in the last leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. 

Unfortunately, despite the build-up for the last leg, destiny wasn’t in his favor. He was caught in a freak accident where he stepped on a safety pin, which cost him his spot among the Triple Crown winners. 

Final Thoughts

The Preakness Stakes is full of horses that redeemed themselves after losing or missing in the Run For The Roses, but it’s also the race where horses can showcase that winning in the first leg of the Triple Crown isn’t just a miracle, that horses have what it takes. 

The Preakness Stakes is full of memorable horses, and these top five horses have carved themselves in history books. Be sure to look out for more memorable horses this May 2024.

Editorial Team

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