BALTIMORE, 05-18-13– Calumet Farm’s Skyring, who captured the James W. Murphy at Pimlico on Preakness Day last year, returned Saturday to triumph in the $300,000 Longines Dixie Stakes (G2) at Old Hilltop.
One of two starters saddled by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Skyring set all of the pace and held off a late-charging Wilcox Inn by a half-length in the 1 1/8-mile turf stakes. The Lukas-trained Optimizer closed through traffic late to finish third.
Skyring carried veteran Gary Stevens to a 24-1 upset victory in 1:47.87 for 1 1/8 miles over firm turf, paying $50.40 to win.
Imagining, the post time favorite, finished next-to-last in the field of 11.
LONGINES DIXIE STAKES QUOTES
D. Wayne Lukas (trainer, Skyring, winner; Optimizer, 3rd)– “This horse loved this turf course last year. That’s why I told the owner, ‘We need to enter both of them.’ There’s really not that much difference between them. The public totally disregarded him even though he was very good last year. Optimizer ran a very good race. I wasn’t that disappointed. He had a little trouble and was in tight. Skyring is just a fighter.”
Gary Stevens (jockey, Skyring, winner)– “He went to the front easy enough and we were able to back things up and he just sprinted home. A very impressive performance.”
Michael Stidham (trainer, Wilcox Inn, 2nd)– “It didn’t look to me like he got into any trouble. James (Graham) switched him out to get clear and it didn’t look like he had to check at all. We didn’t run in the Woodford Reserve at Churchill because Wise Dan was in there and we are tired of chasing him. He will go back to Arlington.”
James Graham (jockey, Wilcox Inn, 2nd)– “I didn’t have quite the trip I wanted to. But I’m certainly not unhappy with the effort he gave me. I thought I had a chance to catch the winner down the stretch, but I was just moving too late.”
Graham Motion (trainer, Howe Great, 4th)– “He was right where he wanted to be. I really couldn't give him an excuse. I thought Alan (Garcia) gave him a perfect ride. He wasn't beaten very far, and it was a very competitive race, so I'm not too disappointed."
Alan Garcia (jockey, Howe Great, 4th)– “I had a very good trip. It was a tough horse race. My horse gave me everything he had.”
Javier Castellano (jockey, Imagining, 10th)– “He didn’t break that sharp out of the gate. That changed all the strategy because my horse is not a come-from-behind horse. He likes to be in the clear near the leaders. Unfortunately, he broke kind of slow today.”
About Pimlico Race Course
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing's famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.
Pimlico Race Course is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.