Preakness Stakes day is the biggest card of racing in Maryland, with 13 races including several stakes events other than the Preakness itself. The 95,760 paying fans enjoyed ideal racing weather all day: sunny skies, light breeze, temperature in the mid 70's, and fast, firm racing surfaces which had dried quickly after overnight rain.
The $150,000 Dixie Stakes featured a field of 12 older horses going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Grassy was sent off as the 7-2 favorite off a second place finish in an allowance last out, over 4-1 second choice Just As Well off a 4th place effort in the Ben Ali, and 5-1 third choice Rahystrada, an allowance winner at Keeneland on April 9.
Strike a Deal set an easy pace of 23.94, 48.23, and 1:12.79 saving ground around both turns. 10-1 Nicanor stalked him 1 1/2 lengths behind. Entering the stretch, Strike a Deal accelerated away from the field to open a 2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:36.24. Just As Well put in a strong rally from 7th early but Strike a Deal held him off late to win by 3/4 length in 1:47.81 over firm going. It was another 1/2 length back to Rahystrada third. Grassy raced in 10th early and showed no rally, finishing 10th beaten 5 3/4 lengths.
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