Oxbow took the lead out of the gate and went on to win Saturday's $1 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, spoiling any chance of Kentucky Derby winner Orb becoming the first Triple Crown champion in 35 years.
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Gary Stevens, Oxbow covered the 1 3/16-mile Preakness in 1:57.54 under overcast skies. The time was the slowest in the Triple Crown's second leg since 1961.
Oxbow, owned by Calumet Farm, cruised to a 1 3/4-length victory over 8-1 second pick Itsmyluckyday with 10-1 Mylute finishing third.
The heavily favored Orb, fresh off his 2 1/2-length win in the Run for the Roses two weeks back, was able to rally and finish fourth, followed by Goldencents, Departing, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie and Titletown Five, who was eased through the stretch.
Sent off as a 15-1 long-shot in the nine-horse field, Oxbow broke well from the starting gate to take the early lead. The colt set the pace up the backstretch with Orb, the 3-5 favorite, just a couple lengths back in fourth.
Around the final turn, Oxbow continued on the lead as Orb and jockey Joel Rosario were shuffled back near the rail. Stevens, a member of racing's Hall of Fame, had his mount just off the rail coming down the stretch and proved too strong to allow Itsmyluckyday and Mylute to catch him.
"It's so special," said Stevens after winning his third Preakness. "Wayne supported me, put me on my first Triple Crown winner. A lot people were trying to get me off. He was the first guy to call me up in January, 'I'm gonna have a colt for you, his name's Oxbow.' Here we stand. Ran a terrific race in the Derby (sixth). We're kind of flying under the radar after the Derby, didn't get a lot of respect, even with the great performance.
"I came back and breezed him on Monday and what you see right now is exactly how he acted in his workout. We went just a nice easy workout, his mind was right. We came in here with a lot of confidence. When I hit the half-mile pole I told myself, 'Are you kidding me, is this happening?' The race was over at the half-mile pole."
Stevens, who returned from retirement in 2013 after a seven-year hiatus, had earlier won the Preakness with Silver Charm (1997) and Point Given (2001).
Lukas notched his sixth Preakness win, having previously saddled Codex (1980), Tank's Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995) and Charismatic (1999).
"I'm happier for Gary and I'm just so happy for Mr. (Brad) Kelly," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "You know, he's invested. He's trying to revitalize Calumet. Now Calumet is back in a classic race. It's very gratifying."
Oxbow earns $600,000 with the upset victory and registers his third win in 11 career starts. The colt has banked $983,500 with just two stakes wins.
The colt won for the first time in his fourth start last November at Churchill Downs. He closed his 2-year-old season with a fourth behind Violence in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park.
As a 3-year-old, Oxbow won the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds and finished fourth in the Risen Star at the New Orleans track. He came back to finish second to Will Take Charge in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but finished fifth in the Arkansas Derby to Overanalyze.
The Kentucky bred finished sixth at 24-1 in the Kentucky Derby after pressing the blazing pace that was being set by Palace Malice.
Oxbow returned $32.80, $12.00 and $6.80. Itsmyluckyday paid $7.80 and $5.00 and Mylute paid $5.20 to show.