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Notes: A poor finish for Firing Line and a record handle for Pimlico Race Course

Sheltering from the rain in the paddock just behind trainer Bob Baffert at Pimlico Race Course, Firing Line trainer Simon Callaghan watched the Preakness unfold on a small television monitor, surrounded by horsemen, reporters and television cameras.

By the time the horses flashed past the open paddock door on the front stretch right out of the starting gate, Callaghan sensed there would be no upset of Kentucky Derby winner and the Baffert-trained American Pharoah.

"I knew from the start that it just wasn't happening," Callaghan said.

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Firing Line's seventh-place finish was by far the worst of his career. He finished a length behind American Pharoah in the Derby, and entered the Preakness having finished first or second in each of his six career races

On Saturday, Callaghan said that “nothing went right, what with all that rain coming down.”

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Callaghan said jockey Gary Stevens reported that the colt stumbled out of the gate and knocked himself. “And that was our race today,” Stevens said.

Firing Line and Dortmund, another Baffert-trained horse, were the leading challengers to American Pharoah's Triple Crown bid entering Saturday.

The three horses were the top finishers in the Derby, and fans envisioned a return of the kind of Triple Crown duels that have made the series special.

Dortmund entered the Derby with six victories in six races, including the Santa Anita Derby in April. But he finished third in the Kentucky Derby and fourth Saturday.

"I was hoping he'd show a little more," Baffert said of Dortmund. "I was afraid about the mud with him and his big feet."

"He didn't like the sloppy track," Dortmund jockey Martin Garcia said. "He didn't come out good from the gate, and he didn't like the mud in his face. Not his best effort today."

Record day

A record announced crowd of 131,680 watched American Pharoah win the Preakness on Saturday at Pimlico. The mark surpassed the previous record of 123,469, set last year.

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The day's total handle was $85.161 million, also topping last year's mark of $83.786 million.


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