Most of the horses in the stakes barns at Pimlico Race Course had cleared out by 8:30 Sunday morning, having loaded into vans under the cover of early-morning rain.
Plates with pieces of cake left over from last night's victory party for Oxbow dotted the ground near trainer D. Wayne Lukas' temporary office, as did a few emptied beer bottles.
As he said he would, Lukas began loading his horses into a van bound for Louisville less than 12 hours after winning his 14th Triple Crown race, a new record.
Lukas continues to point Oxbow to the June 8 Belmont, and Shug McGaughey would like to run Kentucky Derby winner Orb there, too, for a rubber match.
They could re-encounter second-place Derby finisher Golden Soul and third-place Revolutionary there.
Oxbow won a meandering Preakness that, as far as big horse races go, was as dull as the gray weather that had settled over the track. His final time of 1:57.54 was the slowest since Carry Back won in 1:57 3/5 in 1961. Secretariat holds the track record of 1:53 2/5.
Frank Stronach, owner of Maryland Jockey club and therefore Pimlico, always enjoys the Preakness festivities. His interest in Maryland's tracks, which he purchased in 2002 two years after his Red Bullet won Preakness, came about in part because it offered a way to buy into the Triple Crown. Pimlico hosted 117,203 people yesterday -- the fourth largest crowd of all time -- and had a handle of $81,940,233, sixth largest.
But Stronach had extra reason to smile as he stood upon the stage of Pimlico's famed cupola winner's circle. He owns Awesome Again, sire of Oxbow. Standing at Stronach's Adena Springs in Kentucky, his booking price is currently $75,000. That's about the same as Malibu Moon, sire of Orb. Both could push above $100,000 due to these Triple Crown wins; that's rare in today's climate.
If you're interested, you can buy into these bloodlines at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds In Training sale Monday and Tuesday at the fairgrounds in Timonium. A son and daughter of Awesome again are for sale, while seven colts and two fillies out of Malibu Moon will go to auction.
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