Robert Wyndham Walden is the King of the Preakness.
Not D. Wayne Lukas, who has six victories.
Not Bob Baffert with five.
The honor belongs to Walden with seven, the most recent 127 years ago.
Lukas and Baffert are making a push to take the title away, with Baffert going for win No. 6 next Saturday with Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah and third-place finisher Dortmund. Lukas was considering sending out Mr. Z in a long shot bid to match Walden's record.
Baffert, though, appears to have the best of the Preakness bunch in this one. After winning his fourth Derby last weekend, he explained why he's able to do so well in big races: ''It means that they (owners) gave me really good horses and I didn't screw it up.''
He sure hasn't.
A look at his Preakness victories:
SILVER CHARM, 1997
The Preakness seems like a bonus for Baffert after coming up with a Derby win two weeks earlier to ease the disappointment of a photo-finish loss to Grindstone in '96. This one turns into a nail-biter as Silver Charm and Free House duel in the stretch before Silver Charm pulls in front just before the wire and wins by a head. Three weeks later in the Belmont Stakes, with a Triple Crown on the line, Free House and Touch Gold (fourth in the Preakness) are back to take on Silver Charm. With Silver Charm trying hold off Free House, Touch Gold roars past on the outside and wins by three-quarters of a length.
REAL QUIET, 1998
A year after a first Triple Crown letdown, Baffert brings his second Derby winner to Baltimore. Real Quiet, purchased by Baffert pal Mike Pegram for a bargain-basement $17,000, has smooth sailing, racing wide entering the stretch and rallying past rivals to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Derby and Preakness runner-up Victory Gallop gets his revenge three weeks later, nipping Real Quiet by a nose in a photo finish and ending Triple try No. 2 by the closest of margins.
POINT GIVEN, 2001
Still unable to fully explain Point Given's bad day at the Derby - he ran fifth - Baffert shows up at Pimlico two weeks later and brings along Congaree, who was third in the Derby. Derby winner Monarchos goes off as the favorite. Point Given moves into contention on the turn, pulls nearly even with Congaree entering the stretch, lugs inside a bit but when he's straightened by jockey Gary Stevens, the big colt wins by 2 1/4 lengths. He goes on to win the Belmont, ends up Horse of the Year and Baffert still says this should have been his Triple Crown winner.
WAR EMBLEM, 2002
Following a wire-to-wire Derby upset at 20-1 odds, Baffert's speedster breaks from the No. 8 post as the slight favorite. Under Victor Espinoza, War Emblem sits off the lead for a change, then shoots to the front coming out of the far turn and wins by three-quarters of a length.
''Fate owes me a Triple Crown,'' Baffert says after this race.
The win sets up Baffert's third Triple try. And this time it isn't even close. War Emblem stumbles at the start, gains a brief lead with a half-mile to go but fades in the stretch and finishes eighth. Sarava, at 70-1 odds, wins.
LOOKIN AT LUCKY, 2010
After his Derby favorite draws the rail, gets bumped twice in the early going, and finishes sixth in the Derby, a disappointed Baffert goes all in on the Preakness. Luck went his way when the colt lands the No. 7 post. The race unfolds well. Lookin At Lucky takes a short lead at the top of the stretch and holds off First Dude to win by three-quarters of a length. Derby winner Super Saver is eighth.
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