Lexitonian gets a nose down in Chick Lang Stakes thriller

Maryland Jockey Club
May 18, 2019 05:38pm

Calumet Farm homebred Lexitonian split horses in mid-stretch and came with a determined run to edge past Gladiator King at the wire and upset the Grade 3, $200,000 Chick Lang at odds of 17-1 Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

The 44th running of the Chick Lang for 3-year-olds, promoted to graded status for 2019, was the seventh of nine stakes on the Preakness program.

Lexitonian ($36) gave jockey Jose Ortiz his third victory of the day, all in stakes, following the $100,000 James W. Murphy with English Bee and the $100,000 Ole Smoky Moonshine Searching with Ickymasho. Calumet Farm is also the breeder and owner of English Bee.

Jack Sisterson, a former assistant to 2012 Preakness winner I’ll Have Another’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, earned his second career graded-stakes win as a trainer. The first came in the 2018 Tempted Stakes with Oxy Lady.

"I could be wrong, but he seems like a horse where the more you work, the more he could go over the top," Sisterson said. "So I figured I might as well run him instead of work him. Someone asked me this morning, ‘What do you think of your horse today?’ and I said, ‘In my opinion he ran a much better race [at Churchill] than it looked on paper.’

"I know he ran an 80-something Beyer but [jockey] Joel [Rosario], who rode him at Churchill told me that he used him a little bit early and that if he were to ride him back, he’d take him back. It looked like he was going backwards on us at the quarter pole but then he started to finish up well – and it was a tough allowance as well.”

Malpais and Gladiator King slugged it out through a quarter-mile in 22.65 seconds and a half in 44.82 before Gladiator King wrested a short lead on the turn. Lexitonian tracked the top pair in fourth, powered past rivals inside the eighth pole and continued gaining to get up by a head in 1:09.74.

Admiral Lynch rallied late for third, a head behind Gladiator King. Previously undefeated Preamble, the 8-5 favorite, was never in contention and finished last of nine.

Run as the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes from its inception in 1975 to 2009, the Chick Lang was renamed in honor of the racing industry legend widely known as ‘Mr. Preakness,’ who passed away in 2010 at age 83.


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