the 1982 Kentucky Derby, the connections for the winner, Gato Del Sol, made a
very surprising decision. For the first time in 23 years the Kentucky Derby winner
would by-pass the second jewel and rest instead for the Belmont Stakes. The
absence of Gato Del Sol took away the chance of a Triple Crown but it also
introduced us to Aloma’s Ruler, a horse that skipped the Kentucky Derby.
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
following year Sunny’s Halo made it to Pimlico to race in the Preakness Stakes
but the Kentucky Derby winner was not able to carry his win streak into the
third and final leg of the Triple Crown. As a substitute story line we were once
again introduced to another winner that did not run in the Kentucky Derby. This
time it was Deputed Testamony, a Maryland Bred that proved he didn’t need the
Kentucky Derby in order to win on his home turf.
1983 however, the rare feat has remained somewhat unusual as only 3 of the last
29 Preakness Stakes winners skipped the Kentucky Derby. Although it has
occurred twice in the last eight years I recommend we look at whom two of these
first and most recognizable of course is a sweet gal by the name of Rachel Alexandra.
Not only did she prove to be head and shoulders above the rest of the Kentucky
Oaks field in 2009 (20 ¼ lengths to be exact) she also left us wondering if she
was good enough to beat the boys the following day. The next time she had the
opportunity she made sure we received the answer loud and clear. She became the
first Filly to win the Preakness since 1924 and she did it from the most
unlikely position; Post 13.
was Bernardini in 2006. He got off to a late start and didn’t begin racing
until age 3. Shortly after his maiden debut he then had to be sidelined with an
infection. He was kept away from racing for about 2 months but the highly
regarded colt and son of A.P. Indy came roaring back. After winning the Withers
he then went on to win the Preakness Stakes plus many other graded stakes races.
interesting note about both of these Preakness winners is that they became
eclipse award winners for the same year in which they slid in and stole the
second jewel. So, when we look back and consider just how good they were, are
we surprised that they won the Preakness Stakes after skipping the Kentucky
my opinion that is a very easy answer; absolutely not. But what about the other
horse that remains the only Preakness winner to skip the Derby since 1983. It
was Red Bullet in 2000. Although he never went on to win another graded stakes
race following his big score in the Preakness, Red Bullet still had a respectable
record leading up to his first Triple Crown race. The son of Unbridled also did
not race at age 2 but his 3-yr-old season took off when he scored in the Gotham.
He then followed it up with a 2nd place finish to the eventual Kentucky
Derby winner in the Wood Memorial. The next time he saw Fusaichi Pegasus
however, it was his turn.
Red Bullet may have been suited for the Kentucky Derby his connections elected
to pass and Preakness preparations began instead. Because he was already
regarded as a potential contender can anyone guess who I’m going to compare Red
is another horse that got a late start in his racing career. In fact, he didn’t
race for the first time until late December. Nevertheless, just like Red Bullet
he was undefeated in three races prior to his first major Kentucky Derby prep.
Although Red Bullet finished better in his, Departing still notched a solid
performance against a very tough field in the Louisiana Derby. Finally, it was
the prep against Kentucky Derby starters that the decision to skip the first
leg of the Triple Crown was made and the Preakness Stakes became the goal.
Red Bullet however, Departing raced one more time between his major Kentucky
Derby prep and the Preakness Stakes. His monster win in the Illinois Derby
proved what we already knew but it won’t be until Saturday May 18 until we find out if
we can compare him to Red Bullet any more than I already have.
other probable starters for the 2013 Preakness Stakes that will attempt to become the next horse to win after skipping the Kentucky Derby are Titletown Five, Govenor Charlie and Street Spice. It’s not that any of these three can’t win the second
jewel of the Triple Crown but I will say that I will be surprised if they do. I
give Govenor Charlie the best shot of these three but I also think that
Departing has the best chance of the four.
to other years in recent history I think this is a good crop of contenders that will be trying to achieve what has become a rare occurrence. But, I also don’t see any of these
four ending the year as an Eclipse award nominee. So, I can only compare them
to Red Bullet in 2000. However, their path leading up to the Preakness Stakes
is where I end the comparison because I can’t envision them being the best horse
at Pimlico next weekend.