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The TDN Topic is a new feature for the TDN, designed to examine a topic in racing from several different angles, and then seek comment from our readers. In each TDN Topic, we ask people with different perspectives—from both inside and outside the sport—to comment on a hot-button issue. Today, we start with whipping.

Top News in Sunday's TDN
Oxbow Upsets the Preakness in Wire-to-Wire Fashion
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12th at PIMGI Preakness S. ($1,000,000)  [1 3/16m]Winner: Oxbow, c, 3 by Awesome Again
   A Triple Crown will have to wait yet another year after Calumet Farm’s Oxbow (Awesome Again) gave Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas--age 77--a sixth win and fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens--age 50 and a handful of months removed from a seven-year retirement--a third victory in Saturday’s GI Preakness S. at Old Hilltop in Baltimore. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) looked a danger in deep stretch before settling for second, while Mylute (Midnight Lute) came from the back of the pack to be third. GI Kentucky Derby hero Orb (Malibu Moon) was sent off at prohibitive odds of 3-5 to take this middle jewel, but raced in a bit of traffic and closer to the pace than is his custom on the backstretch and only a belated rally carried him into fourth.

Saturday, Pimlico Racecourse
PREAKNESS S.-GI, $1,000,000, PIM, 5-18, 3yo,1 3/16m, 1:57 2/5, ft.
1--sOXBOW, 126, c, 3, by Awesome Again
1st Dam: Tizamazing, by Cee's Tizzy
2nd Dam: Cee's Song, by Seattle Song
3rd Dam: Lonely Dancer, by Nice Dancer
($250,000 yrl '11 KEESEP). O-Calumet Farm; B-Colts Neck Stables LLC (KY); T-D Wayne Lukas; J-Gary Stevens. $600,000. Lifetime Record: 11-3-1-1, $983,500. *Full to Awesome Patriot, SW & GSP, $114,600. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2--Itsmyluckyday, 126, c, 3, Lawyer Ron--Viva La Slew, by Doneraile Court. ($47,000 yrl '11 KEESEP; $110,000 2yo ‘12 OBSMAR). O-Trilogy Stable & Laurie Plesa; B-Liberation Farm & Brandywine Farm (KY); T-Edward Plesa Jr. $200,000.
3--Mylute, 126, c, 3, Midnight Lute--Stage Stop, by Valid Expectations. ($150,000 yrl '11 FTKJUL). O-GoldMark Farm LLC & Whisper Hill Farm; B-Mike Rutherford (KY); T-Thomas Amoss. $110,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, HF, 6 3/4. Odds: 15.40, 8.50, 10.90.
Also Ran: Orb, Goldencents, Departing, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, Titletown Five.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO.

Walking the Dog...
   In the capable hands of Stevens, whose two previous Preakness wins came for Bob Baffert (Silver Charm, 1997, Point Given, 2001), Oxbow was given rein and edged past Goldencents (Into Mischief) to lead with a circuit to travel, while Itsmyluckyday and Titletown Five (Tiznow) were the closest pursuers. Orb and GIII Illinois Derby hero Departing (War Front) raced as a team further back, while Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute), Will Take Charge and Mylute comprised the latter third of the field into the clubhouse turn. Oxbow traveled sweetly turning up the backstretch and there were no real deltas until Joel Rosario guided Orb off the inside and into the two path to launch a middle move between Titletown Five and Itsmyluckyday that carried him to within two lengths of the pacesetter nearing the half-mile pole. But Titletown Five countered up the fence and Departing ranged up to his outside, and all at once, Orb was relegated to sixth and was sending out distress signals as he was niggled along by Rosario. Back at the head of affairs, Stevens was a mere pilot as Oxbow took them around the final turn after breezing the opening six furlongs in 1:13.26, and, surprisingly, his host of pursuers did not include the Derby winner. Itsmyluckyday, three or four wide the trip, took aim from the outside and Departing appeared dangerous for a stride or two in upper stretch, but Oxbow had managed to conserve enough energy for that crucial final furlong and stayed on well for the win. Itsmyluckyday was a gallant second ahead of Mylute, who validated his fifth in the Derby with another creditable effort. Stevens admitted that he resorted to calling an audible early in the race. "We talked about strategy and I didn’t expect to be on the lead," he admitted. "In these Classic races, you don’t give up anything you get for free. They gave me a free three-quarters of a mile today. I was smiling pretty good midway down the backside. I actually thought about Wayne [Lukas] up in the grandstand. I knew he would be looking at those fractions and be pleased with what he was seeing." For Lukas, it was not only his sixth Preakness, now clearly the second-most prolific trainer in the event, but his 14th Classic overall, the winningest in Triple Crown history. It was his first Classic success since sending out Commendable (Gone West) to an upset score in the 2000 GI Belmont S. "What a story this is," the beaming conditioner said. "I’m happy for Gary [Stevens] and I’m just so happy for [Calumet owner] Mr. [Brad] Kelley. He’s trying to revitalize Calumet, and now Calumet is back in a Classic race. That’s just very gratifying. It’s been a while [Charismatic, 1999], but it never gets old. I have great respect for the Phipps family and Shug [McGaughey], but I was telling one of your colleagues that I get paid to spoil dreams." Asked whether he’d press on to the Belmont, Lukas said, "I’ve got to talk to Mr. Kelley, but I like to rack them up in the big events. So, we’ll probably go."

Lukas and Stevens: A Quarter-Century of Classics...
   Oxbow’s win punctuated an improbable confluence of events that saw Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens partner for a fourth Classic win together. Lukas, clearly well past his prime, but rejuvenated by the investment of Kelley. And Stevens, who called it a career--or so we thought--in 2005, returning to the saddle just shy of his 50th birthday. Saturday’s victory comes just over 25 years after Lukas made the decision to let Stevens retain the Kentucky Derby mount on Winning Colors after she had won the 1988 GI Santa Anita Derby.

Disappointment for McGaughey...
   As much as he preaches one step at a time, trainer Shug McGaughey said he’d have been lying if he said he wasn’t thinking about the Triple Crown. Disappointed as he was, the Hall of Fame conditioner was gracious and forthcoming in post-race interviews. "I’m disappointed. It was a great opportunity," McGaughey admitted. "This was quite a run for a couple of weeks. We’ll pack it up and go back home and see what kind of horse we’ve got down the road and figure it out from there." He added, "I don’t think two weeks had anything to do with it. Oxbow ran back in two weeks. Itsmyluckyday ran back in two weeks, Mylute ran back in two weeks. I just think he got himself in a position where he wasn’t comfortable and then without the pace scenario in front of him; they really weren’t spread out a little bit more than maybe I’d hoped. That probably affected him more than anything else."

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Taylor Made Farm

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