It was the day of sweet revenge in racing: Louis Quatorze won the 121st Preakness Stakes with Pat Day riding, just 10 days after he was replaced as a jockey by trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who watched today while his record streak ended after six straight Triple Crown victories.
Day was signed for his ride by Nick Zito, the most vocal critic of Lukas and his hordes of horses. And they scored the coup of the year when Louis Quatorze, 16th in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness betting, led every step of the way to outrun Skip Away by three and a quarter lengths. No Derby horse had ever finished so far back and returned two weeks later to win the Preakness.
The closest that Lukas got to extending his streak was third place, with Editor’s Note. The 8-5 favorite, Cavonnier, trained by Bob Baffert, finished fourth. Lukas, who entered five horses in the Derby and three in the Preakness, also finished fifth with Victory Speech and seventh with Prince of Thieves.
Louis Quatorze even supplied some storybook numbers of his own. He ran the mile and three-sixteenths in 1:532/5 on a fast track, matching the record for the race set 12 years ago by Tank’s Prospect, with Day in the saddle that day, too. In fact, this was the fifth time that Day had won the Preakness and the third in a row.
The colt, a son of Sovereign Dancer, paid $19 for $2 to win and earned $458,120 for his owners — Bill Condren and Joe Cornacchia, who were the owners of other Zito stars like Strike the Gold and Go for Gin, and Georgia Hofmann, the owner of the star filly Sky Beauty.
After the race, both Zito and Day subdued any feelings of revenge and phrased their reactions more in terms of redemption.
“The man upstairs takes care of me,” said Zito, whose horses finished second to Lukas’s three times during the streak. “Are we going to the Belmont Stakes? How fast can we get there?”
Day, who is 42 years old and somewhat grizzled and more evangelical in spirit than Zito, buried any bitterness, and said, “I’m sorry his streak ended, and I’m happy mine continued.”
Then he remembered his feelings after running third in the Derby on Prince of Thieves and, five days later, being replaced by Jerry Bailey, who in the last six months won the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the $4 million Dubai World Cup and the $1 million Kentucky Derby.
“I didn’t enjoy being taken off Prince of Thieves,” he said. “But Lukas called it a coaching move, and I don’t blame him. Jerry Bailey’s riding so good these days.”