Seize the Grey Wins Preakness for Lukas; Snatches Triple Crown Bid From Mystik Dan

Yessir, Coach!

Seize the Grey seized the lead at the start and never wavered to upset Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mystik Dan and win the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday, giving 88-year-old trainer D. Wayne Lukas his seventh victory in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

While there will be no Triple Crown try in the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 8, Seize the Grey’s win over a muddy Pimlico Race Course was a most heartwarming moment for Lukas and horse racing.

Upset gives 88-year-old trainer D. Wayne Lukas Preakness win No. 7

Lukas, who won his first Preakness 44 years ago with Codex and is now the oldest trainer to win a Triple Crown race, accepted congratulations from dozens of people on his way to the winner’s circle, including the trainers he vanquished in the 1 3/16-mile race. He’s now won 15 Triple Crown races.

Seize The Grey. MJC Photo

“Wayne is an amazing guy, a guy I’ve always idolized,” said Kenny McPeek, who trains Mystik Dan. “If I’m going to get beat, it’s fine to get beat by him.”

Sent off at 9-1 with Triple Crown race newbie Jaime Torres aboard, Seize the Gray scooted out of the gate, avoided some bumping behind him and led the field seven 3-year-olds through fractions of 23.98 seconds, 47.33 for a half mile, and 1:11.95 for three-quarters.

He turned for home with a two-length lead, and was never threatened despite a late charge by Mystik Dan and a closing bid by Catching Freedom, topping the Derby winner by 2 ¼ lengths, with Catching Freedom third, a head behind Mystik Dan.

Tuscan Gold was fourth, followed by Just Steel (also trained by Lukas), Uncle Heavy, Bob Baffert-trained Imagination, and Mugatu.

Winning time was 1:56.82.

“I thought his action down the backside was beautiful,’’ said Lukas of Seize the Grey, who won the Pat Day Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs on May 4, just before Mystik Dan won the Derby. “I knew he was handling the (muddy) track. I said, ‘Watch out, he’s not going to quit. He got a mile two weeks ago.’”

Seize the Grey Delivers Big Win and Big Payout in Preakness Stakes

Seize the Grey returned $21.60 on a $2 win bet, extending a string of longshot Preakness Stakes winners to six years. He earned $1.2 million for his 2,570 owners who are part of the MyRacehorse syndicate.

“Can you imagine how many people can relish this and enjoy this?’’ Lukas said, a huge grin on his face as he walked, with the assist of cane, to the winner’s circle. “I don’t know how many people own this horse.”

Seize the Grey, a son of Arrogate purchased for $300,000 at the Saratoga yearling sale, improved to 10-4-0-3 with earnings of more than $1.8 million.

For Lukas, he moves into a tie for second with Robert Wyndham Walton with seven Preakness wins; Bob Baffert has eight, but his bid for nine did not unfold well as Imagination, with Frankie Dettori aboard, ran second early, but faded as the field hit the top of the stretch.

Heartfelt Moments at Preakness

Lukas extended his record of Preakness starters to 48. His six other Preakness winners: Codex, Tank’s Prospect, Tabasco Cat, Timber Country, Charismatic, and Oxbow.

For the 25-year-old Torres in his third year riding, he was grateful for the opportunity.

“Very excited and very thankful to all the people that have been beside me, helping me,’’ he said. “My family surprised me here today. I have no words. It’s amazing.”

Baffert made sure he found Lukas on his way to the winner’s circle. Baffert reached over a railing, shook hands with Lukas and the two just smiled at each other.

“I just congratulated him. I said, ‘You got me!’ He said, ‘I thought you would be on the lead!” Baffert said. “I knew he was going to be there. I think (Imagination) liked the track. I think he wanted to run. He is still learning.”


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