National Treasure wins the 148th Preakness Stakes.

On a day marred by a demise in Bob Baffert’s barn, his colt, National Treasure, edged out Blazing Sevens by a head to win the 148th working of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday and provides his coach a document eighth victory in the race.

Baffert, no stranger to controversy, was returning to the Preakness after serving a suspension in reference to a failed drug check by his 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, who died later that yr. Earlier on Saturday, a horse skilled by Baffert sustained a deadly harm in an undercard race as deaths continued to hang-out the highway to the Triple Crown.

After the race, Baffert fought again tears. “We’ve simply been completely worn out after that horse received damage,” he mentioned about Havnameltdown, who broke down in the sixth race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. “The feelings of this sport, it is a lot.”

He added later, after extra time to replicate on his return: “We’ve been by a tricky go, however we knew we might get by this. It’s the love of the horse that retains me targeted and in a position to preserve the noise out. But it is days like this, it is probably not vindication, however I really feel like we are able to have a second that we are able to get pleasure from it.”

Compromised by a sluggish tempo, the Derby winner Mage completed third, slicing brief the one feel-good story in a grim interval for racing.

National Treasure defeated six different contenders in what was seen as a weak area, particularly after First Mission, at 5-2 in the morning line, was scratched. Mage went off as a 7-5 favourite, and National Treasure, at 5-2, was the main various.

He lined the mile and three-sixteenths in 1 minute 55.12 seconds and rewarded his backers with $7.80 on a $2 guess to win. It was the first Preakness victory for the Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, a obvious gap in a résumé full of marquee wins.

“Gosh, it has been some time,” Velazquez mentioned. “With all the blessings that I’ve had and all the success I’ve had in different races, not having received this one was undoubtedly lacking.”

Before the pleasure of the race, there was an air of drama and solemnity surrounding the race observe. Havnameltdown’s demise added to the latest toll of horse fatalities surrounding the Triple Crown races, after seven horses died at Churchill Downs in the days main as much as the Kentucky Derby earlier this month.

Havnameltdown buckled round the far flip in the $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes, sending his jockey Luis Saez tumbling to the floor. Saez was taken off the observe in an ambulance. The colt was euthanized by veterinarians on the racetrack after being examined by a crew led by Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinary officer for the firm that owns Pimlico.

“During the subsequent analysis, she noticed a non-operable left fore fetlock harm,” the firm, the Stronach Group, mentioned in a press release, referring to a joint in the horse’s foreleg. “Due to the severity and prognosis of the harm, Dr. Benson and her counterparts made the tough choice to humanely euthanize Havnameltdown.”

Saez was transported to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore for additional analysis after complaining of leg ache. He was in steady situation and aware, based on the firm.

“Truthfully, it felt like a knife to my coronary heart once I noticed it,” Velazquez mentioned of the accidents to the horse and his counterpart, Saez. “It’s devastating while you see it. It’s onerous to remain targeted and preserve going.”

Amid the deaths and the scratches of the previous few weeks, the accomplishments of the Derby winner, Mage, had been overshadowed. But there was lots to love about the fast-developing colt and his Venezuelan and small-time proprietor connections.

He was solely the third horse to win the Derby with out racing as a 2-year-old and the fourth to win it with solely three earlier begins. Another horse that did each? Justify, the most up-to-date Triple Crown winner, in 2018.

Mage’s solely two earlier losses had come in opposition to Forte, the morning-line favourite for the Derby who was scratched the day of the race. Mage was the lone Derby contender in the Preakness.

Still, there was drama when Mage had a mishap in his stall on Thursday and required stitches, certainly one of his house owners, Ramiro Restrepo, mentioned Saturday. His coach, Gustavo Delgado Sr., mentioned after the race that the sluggish tempo was what did his horse in.

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