This year’s Preakness Stakes were beyond dramatic and emotional. Shortly after four horses died at the Kentucky Derby, another one was euthanized at Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The horse who died was owned by Bob Baffert, a Hall of Fame trainer, who just got back after the suspension. Another one of his horses won the championship.
Dramatic course of events:
Baffert was very emotional while commenting on the win of his horse. Almost in tears, he said: “This business is twists and turns, ups and downs. To win this — losing that horse today really hurt. … It’s been a very emotional day.”
During the race, Havnameltdown, who was only three years old, badly injured his left front leg, which led to euthanasia. He was run by the jockey Luis Saez, who was unseated. He went to the hospital but was conscious, and X-rays were negative.
At the same time, another one of Baffert’s horses, National Treasure, won the championship, being better than the Kentucky Derby champion Mage, who finished third. This put the famous trainer back on track in the Triple Crown trail. The horse’s joker was John Velasquez, who participated in the championship 13 times, but it was his first win.
The winner of this championship didn’t run at Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby was held, because his trainer, Baffert, had been suspended for two years. The suspension took place because of the Derby 2021, where the winner Medina Spirit found positive on the drug test. It disqualified the horse and led to the suspension of the trainer.
This is the eighth victory for Baffert in the Preakness, and 17th in a Triple Crown race, becoming the most awarded trainer currently.
The audience is worried about recent horse racing deaths and requires more work in order to prevent these accidents from happening. The federal Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority will implement new medication and doping rules on Monday, which will help in establishing the safety standards, as well as be a significant step towards establishing the same regulations in this sport across the whole country.
Meanwhile, the betting on Preakness Stakes dropped 16.4% compared to the previous years. The short field impacted all of the pools since only seven runners participated in the event. Last year, there were nine of them. At the same time, the amount of wagering on other championships increased.
It’s especially concerning that the betting in the exacta pool recorded a decrease of 12.7%, while straight pools dropped 4.7%. The trifecta pool was down 20%, the superfecta pool 36.7%, while super HI-5 dropped 27%.
The total betting was $54.6 million, and in 2022 it was $65.29 million. It’s an even bigger decrease compared to 2021, when the record betting was recorded: $68.69 million.