Baltimore, MD, USA; Gary Stevens aboard Oxbow (right) wins the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes as John Velazquez aboard Itsmyluckyday (center) finishes second and Rosie Napravnik aboard Mylute (left) finishes third at Pimlico race course. (Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
BALTIMORE (REID CHERNER/USA Today sports) -- Horse racing's search for another Triple Crown winner will stretch into almost its fourth decade as Kentucky Derby winner Orb lost the Preakness Stakes to Oxbow, who won in a wire-to-wire finish.
"I get paid to spoil dreams," said D. Wayne Lukas, the 77-year-old Hall of Fame trainer for Oxbow, who gave him his sixth Preakness victory and a record 14th Triple Crown win.
Oxbow, with veteran jockey Gary Stevens aboard, finished unofficially in 1:57.54. Itsmylucky day was second, Mylute third and Orb fourth.
The 50-year-old Stevens said his third Preakness win was "so special."
"We were flying under the radar after the Derby," Stevens said after Oxbow was sixth at the Derby two weekends ago.
WATCH: Oxbow's triumphant Preakness finish
Losing trainer Shug McGaughey said Orb "never was really comfortable." Joel Rosario, the jockey on Orb agreed: "I kind of worried a little bit (at the ½ mile pole)."
That's precisely when Stevens knew he had the race won.
"When I hit the half-mile pole, I told myself, 'are you kidding me? Is this happening?' The race was over," Stevens said. "I just walked the dog. I said pretend you're working him home in 36 seconds and that's going to be good enough to win, and it was."
Since 1989, when McGaughey ruined the Triple Crown chances of Sunday Silence, there have been three Belmont trainers ruin Triple Crown chances. The others: Scotty Schulhofer with Lemon Drop Kid in 1999 and Nick Zito with Birdstone in 2004.
The Triple Crown, racing's ultimate prize for horses in their 3-year-old seasons, requires wins in the Derby 1 ¼ miles), the Preakness (1 3/16) and the Belmont (a long haul at a mile and a half). Eleven horses have won it since Sir Barton first pulled it off in 1919. None has done it since Affirmed in 1978, the last of three horses to accomplish it in the 1970s.
One theory about why the Triple Crown hasn't been clinched since is that priorities in breeding horses have changed to emphasize speed and attractiveness at sale, overlooking the stamina and durability required to win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
The Derby winner started his day from the No.1 post position where only two horses - Bally Ache (1960) and Tabasco Cat, trained by Lukas, have won in the past half-century.
He had won his last five races coming into the Preakness including the Kentucky Derby, Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth Stakes.
"I'm disappointed, but I'll be more disappointed tomorrow (when it sinks in)," McGaughey said. "But I know the game."
While Rosario was despairing at the 1/2 mile pole, Stevens was exhilarated: "I said is this happening? I just walked the dog (home)."
Oxbow, at 15-1, paid $32.80, $12 and $8.80. Itsmyluckyday paid $7.80 and $5. Mylute, with Rosie Napravnik making her first Preakness start, paid $5.20 to show.
Next up is the Belmont Stakes on June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY.