A record crowd of 121,263 was on hand for the 132nd renewal of the Preakness Stakes (G1), the second leg of racing's Triple Crown. A field of nine three-year-olds went to the gate in this $1 million event over 1 3/16 miles at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, with Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense sent off as the 6-5 favorite over Derby third place finisher Curlin at 7-2. Local hope Hard Spun, the pacesetter in Louisville, was the 4-1 third choice over 6-1 Circular Quay, rounding out the top four on the board. The rest of the field went off in double digits.
23-1 Xchanger and 16-1 Flying First Class contested the pace up front through the opening quarter in 22.83 and half-mile in 45.75, while Hard Spun and King of the Roxy stalked them in third 3 lengths behind them. Street Sense and Curlin, as expected, settled near the rear of the field. Mario Pino sent Hard Spun to the lead entering the far turn, and Hard Spun cruised ahead to a 2-length lead after 6 furlongs in 1:09.80. The move proved costly, as the quick pace set the race up for the closers. Street Sense had to angle off the rail to pass the tiring pacesetters and quickly opened up a 1 1/2-length advantage at the 1/8 pole. However, Curlin was closing well and hooked Street Sense with 1/16 of a mile to go. The pair battled to the wire, with Curlin surging late to prevail by a hard-fought head in a stakes-record-tying time of 1:53.46. Hard Spun finished 4 lengths back in third.
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