BALTIMORE — Calvin Borel made no excuses.
Before he was even out of the saddle at the Kentucky Derby, he predicted a Triple Crown for Super Saver and here he was at the Preakness, finishing eighth.
"He run so hard in the Derby, and he's not a big horse," Borel said Saturday. "But when you win the Derby, you got to go for three legs."
Borel's ideal trip in the Derby -- skimming inside the 20-horse field and riding the rail to victory -- wasn't duplicated at Pimlico. He deliberately avoided the rail for this race, he said, because the turns were way too tight.
"My horse broke sharp, right where I wanted," Borel said. "He just wasn't able to get there today."
Borel and trainer Todd Pletcher talked excitedly in the days leading up to the Preakness about how well the horse recovered from the Derby. They seemed convinced that Super Saver had enough talent to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Borel was second at the three-quarters pole but faded down the stretch and finished out of the money for only the second time in eight career races.
"I'm not disgusted. He just come up empty," Borel said. "When I asked him, he kind of just folded up. It happens."
Borel has won three of the last four Derbys, and last year he captured the Preakness aboard Rachel Alexandra. But there was no magic for him this time with Super Saver, the 9-5 favorite.
"When he went to the far turn, you could see that Calvin was squeezing and asking him to go get that horse," Pletcher said. "He just couldn't do it. He hung in there. He kept fighting. But it was ... a little quick for him."
Still, Pletcher was upbeat.
"I wouldn't trade the Derby for anything," he said. "We got the one we wanted the most. We would have loved to come here and win the Preakness and go to Belmont with a chance to win the Triple Crown."
Pletcher said he wasn't planning to run Super Saver at Belmont.
"Now we've got time to come back for a big summer," Pletcher said.
Borel can't wait.
"I will win a lot of other races with this horse," he said. "He's a good one."
Hats off to Lukas: Nine hours before post time in the Preakness, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was sitting alone in front of his stall at the Pimlico Stakes Barn.
Wearing a baseball cap.
Lukas' trademark cowboy hat was notably absent this week, mainly because the weather in Baltimore was either windy, rainy or both.
"Today I should have it on, but I've always said a cowboy hat is overrated if it's raining or it's windy," Lukas said.
Lukas entered two horses in the Preakness, an event he won five times previously. Dublin stumbled at the start and finished fifth, and Northern Giant came in dead last.
But at least Lukas had an enjoyable week leading up to the event.
"Of the Triple Crown races, I like this one the best. It seems like there's a little bit less tension," Lukas said. "Everyone's not quite so competitive. My fellow trainers and colleagues, we all kid and hang out together a little bit. A lot of it might because we're all in one barn, whereas at Churchill we're all scattered and don't see each other.
"It's a fun, fun week and now we have a beautiful day, so it's going to cap it off great."
While Lukas is in town he makes sure to indulge in the city's most famous dish.
"Best crab cakes in the world," he said. "Everyplace else they make them with cereal. Here, they're pure crabs."