By Ray Paulick/Paulick Report

(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

In what played out like an instant replay of the Kentucky Derby, jockey Mario Gutierrez and the Flower Alley colt I’ll Have Another caught Mike Smith and the front-running Bodemeister in the shadow of the finish line to win the 137thedition of the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico race course in Baltimore, Md., on Saturday. The winning margin was a neck, with Creative Cause another 8 ¾ lengths back in third, giving California-based horses a sweep of the top three positions.

Time of the race on a fast track was 1:55.94 for the 1 3/16 miles.

Complete order of finish was: I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister, Creative Cause, Zetterholme, Teeth of the Dog, Optimizer, Cozzetti, Tiger Walk, Daddy Nose Best, Went the Day Well, Pretension.

I’ll Have Another, owned by Reddam Racing and trained by Doug O’Neill now takes aim on the June 9 Belmont Stakes and will attempt to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner. He beat Bodemeister in the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/2 lengths. Dullahan, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, didn’t participate in the Preakness but is being pointed for the Belmont, along with Alpha (12th Kentucky Derby), recent Peter Pan Stakes winner Mark Valeski, and Union Rags (a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby), among others.

“I’m just numb,” said Doug O’Neill. “I could see him and I felt like he was coming, but you never want to expect that he’s going to be in front. I saw him coming. It seemed like the stretch never ends. Thank God. Usually you want it to end. Incredible.”
AUDLEY-BRED BODEMEISTER (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Bodemeister, the 8-5 favorite, went right to the front as expected, just as he did in the Kentucky Derby, setting fractions that were considerably slower than those at Churchill Downs two weeks earlier. He went :23.79 for he opening quarter mile, :47.68 for the half and 1:11.72 for six furlongs.

Creative Cause was in closest pursuit in the run down the backstretch, with I’ll Have Another just behind him, alongside longshot Pretension. When Bodemeister hit the final turn, jockey Joel Rosario made his move aboard Creative Cause, putting some pressure on the front-runner, but Bodemeister stretched his lead out to three lengths at the furlong pole (the same margin he held at the stretch call of the Derby).
Gutierrez, meanwhile, saved some ground on the turn, then swung three wide into the stretch. Gutierrez went to work with a ride-handed whip, and I’ll Have Another gradually cut into Bodemeister’s lead. Bodemeister fought back under left-handed pressure from Smith, but I’ll Have Another had the momentum, snatching the victory from Bodemeister and denying trainer Bob Baffert his sixth victory in the Triple Crown’s middle jewel.
Final time of 1:55.94 (after a mile split of 1:36.69) was quicker than Shackleford’s win last year but well off the fastest Preakness time of 1:53.46 set by Curlin in 2007.
“He looked like he was traveling nicely down the backside and coming to the three-eighths pole, he just sat on him,” Baffert said of Smith and Bodemeister. “The fractions were more reasonable today (Bodemeister went :23.32, :45.39, and 1:09.80 for the first six furlongs of the Derby), so turning for home I really thought he was going to do it. He just got a little late there at the end.
“The winner’s a good horse,” said Baffert. He’ll get the respect now he deserves.”
(Tyler Carr/Getty Images)
“I thought I put him away but he (I’ll Have Another) reached up and got us with three strides,” said Mike Smith. “Two great horses and I give them all the credit for what they did.”
Mike Harrington, trainer of Creative Cause, had no complaints about the way jockey Joel Rosario went after Bodemeister early. “What can you do?” said Harrington. “You’ve got to try to win the race. I have no regrets. He probably won it for I’ll Have Another.”
I’ll Have Another, bred in Kentucky by Harvey Clarke, is out of the Arch mare Arch’s Gal Edith. He was initially sold for $11,000 from the Seitz family’s Brookdale Farm consignment at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale, then pinhooked by Barry Eisaman’s Eisaman Equine at the 2011 OBS Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training, where Dennis O’Neill, brother of the trainer, picked him out for $35,000.
Now a winner of five of seven lifetime starts and all four of his 2012 races, I’ll Have Another paid $8.40 on a $2 mutuel as the 3-1 second choice. “He doesn’t have the most respect and he’s never been favored,” said owner Paul Reddam, who is experiencing his first success in the Triple Crown.
(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Gutierrez, a 25-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, who won his first career Grade 1 race while aboard I’ll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby in April, gave a flawless ride in the Preakness, just as he did in the Kentucky Derby, when breaking from the 19 post position. “It’s not me, it’s him,” Gutierrez said of the Derby-Preakness winner. “He has a tremendous kick in the end.”

“When I saw 23 and change I kind of liked where we were,” O’Neill said. “Mario felt super confident in this horse and his ability to get the best run out of him. He just rode him the way it unfolded. He kept him in the clear, and when he called on him he really finished.”
To read the rest of Paulick’s story and see the chart of the race, click here