PRAIRIE BAYOU BLOWS BY TO VICTORY Preakness marred by destruction of Union City


Triumph mixed with tragedy at the 118th Preakness Stake yesterday.

Prairie Bayou, a chestnut gelding with a heart of steel, won the 1 3/16-mile race in 1 minute, 56 3/5 seconds before 85,495 at Pimlico Race Course.

But the bright, beautiful day ended with the announcement that Union City, a bay colt who pulled up after breaking the sesamoid bones in his right front ankle, was humanely destroyed.

"There was no decision to be made as far as trying to save him," said Union City trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who was near tears. "I'll go to my grave thinking he was a damn good horse."

For the second straight year, Loblolly Stable owner John Ed Anthony and trainer Tom Bohannan came away as the big winners in the second leg of racing's Triple Crown.

Last year, the pair won with Pine Bluff.

Yesterday marked the first time since 1948 that the same ownership group won back-to-back Preakness Stakes.

With Mike Smith aboard, Prairie Bayou made a sweeping move " from the outside to win by a half-length and become the first gelding to claim the Preakness since 1914.

He is the sixth gelding to win the race.

"Prairie Bayou is the most honest 3-year-old of them all," Mr. Bohannan said. "There is nothing a trainer wants more than an honest horse that works and races hard."

Cherokee Run was second. El Bakan, a 51-1 shot, was third.

Sea Hero, the Kentucky Derby winner, was fifth.

"I knew very early in the Derby that I had a chance to win," Sea Hero jockey Jerry Bailey said. "I knew very early in the Preakness that I didn't have much of a chance to win."

But it was Prairie Bayou, the Derby runner-up, who closed the race in Baltimore with a gallant stretch run.

"I had to grind it out in Louisville [at the Derby], but in this race he was there all the time," Mr. Smith said.

"I know what he does. I know what he likes. And I know how to ride him."

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