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An Oaklawn horse may supply trivia answer

By Wally Hall

This article was published May 18, 2017 at 2:41 a.m.

It has become well-documented that Oaklawn Park is a major player in the world of horse racing, especially as the home of prep races for the Triple Crown.

On Saturday, Hot Springs' top tourist attraction and a vital cog to the local economy also could become a great trivia question.

Where did the last winner of the Preakness at Pimlico Park train for the Triple Crown?

Oaklawn is providing half the field for this 10-horse race. The race has a 4-5 morning-line favorite who did not run at Oaklawn, but Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming benefited from the perfect ride on a muddy track to win the Run for the Roses.

Classic Empire, who won the Arkansas Derby, took more shots in the Kentucky Derby than Rocky Balboa in his fight with Apollo Creed in the Rocky movie.

Classic Empire was slammed in the head coming out of the gate and was T-boned down the stretch, but he still finished fourth. He's the second morning-line favorite at 3-1 with a great shot of ending up in the winner's circle.

Conquest Mo Money ran second in the Arkansas Derby but was not a Triple Crown nominee. Rather than shell out $200,000 to run in the Kentucky Derby, his owner and trainer took the weekend off. He was undefeated until second-place finishes in the Sunland and Arkansas derbies.

Looking At Lee, third in the Arkansas Derby and 10-1 on the morning line, will get some play after enjoying an absolutely perfect trip in the Kentucky Derby. Breaking from the No. 1 post position, his jockey, Corey Lanerie, allowed the closer to stroll through more than 6 furlongs, all on the ground-saving rail. When Lanerie asked him to run, he kicked all the way to second and was closing on Always Dreaming.

Looking At Lee and Always Dreaming might not get that perfect trip again, and the Preakness is shorter than the Kentucky Derby and doesn't favor closers.

Hence, who won a race at Oaklawn before shipping to New Mexico and winning the Sunland Derby, never had a shot in the Kentucky Derby, stuck in the middle of the pack while eating mud the entire trip.

Senior Investment is intriguing. His owner, Paul Fireman, was at a trade show before his 33rd birthday when he bought the rights for U.S. distribution of a shoe company, Reebok, for $65,000 in 1979. In 2006, he sold Reebok to Adidas for $3.8 billion.

His horse has run six times at four different tracks. He broke his maiden in December at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, and two months later he won an allowance race at Oaklawn before jumping to the Louisiana Derby, where he was off the board. Two weeks later, he won the Lexington Stakes. He's a well-rested closer.

Those are the five with Oaklawn connections who are taking a shot at likely being the last Preakness winner at Pimlico. It appears that after years of holding on to the Preakness by its fingernails, Pimlico won't host the second leg of the Triple Crown again. Its owner, Stronach Group, said the track needs a $300 million to $500 million overhaul, and it needs a huge commitment of public money.

The track is old, ugly and not functional. Toilets stop up, electricity is spotty, and it is just too small.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has pledged money to keep the Preakness in Baltimore, but more than likely that will go to Laurel, which has undergone considerable updates numerous times since 1985.

In what is most likely the last Preakness at Pimlico, look for an Oaklawn horse to capture the final trophy.

Sports on 05/18/2017

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