Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Bernardini takes Stakes

PREAKNESS STAKES Barbaro was in the middle of the pack when he suddenly dropped back as Bernardini took control from pace-setter Like Now

AP , BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

Jockey Javier Castellano rides Bernardini to victory during the 131st running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland, Saturday. Sweetnorthernmist, right,ridden by Kent Desormeaux, placed second. Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro had to leave the race after suffering a fracture just after the start.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro broke down at the start and broke the hearts of horse racing fans as Bernardini went on to win the US$1 million Preakness Stakes Saturday.

The horrifying scene occurred in the first few hundred yards after the field of nine horses left the starting gate.

Barbaro was in the middle of the pack when he suddenly dropped back under Edgar Prado. The colt was favoring his right rear leg.

Dr. Larry Bramlage, the attending veterinarian for the race, said Barbaro suffered a fracture above and below the ankle.

"It's a serious fracture. This will require pretty major surgery. ... Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer," he said.

Trainer Michael Matz bolted from his seat and ran onto the track where he embraced Prado. The jockey went over to owner Gretchen Jackson and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

She put an arm on his shoulder and said, "You did a great job."

crying in the grandstand

Fans were crying in the grandstand as the unbeaten 3-year-old was loaded into an equine ambulance and taken away, his injured leg in an inflatable cast.

"You never expect it," Jackson said as she walked back to the barn.

Prado pulled Barbaro to a stop just past the finish line and jumped off.

The devastating development took all the excitement from a crowd expecting a victory by Barbaro which would have set the stage for a US Triple Crown attempt in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.

The Preakness went on, though, with Bernardini taking control from pace-setter Like Now and pulling away for a 5-1/2-length victory over Sweetnorthernsaint.

Hemingway's Key was third, followed by Brother Derek, Greeley's Legacy, Platinum Couple and Like Now.

Ridden by Javier Castellano, Bernardini became the first Preakness winner to have not run in the Derby since Red Bullet in 2000.

Lightly raced, Bernardini was taking a major step up in class in just his fourth career start. The well-bred son of A.P. Indy came into the Preakness off an impressive win in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on April 29.

The colt has won three straight after running fourth in his debut, and earned US$650,000 for Darley Stable, operated by Dubai's Sheik Mohammed.

Winning time for the 1 3/16 mile race was 1:54.65, off the stakes record of 1:53.40.

Bernardini paid US$27.80, US$9.40 and US$5.80. Sweetnorthernsaint, who finished seventh in the Derby, returned US$7.80 and US$5. Hemingway's Key paid US$8.

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