Preakness: How the race was won
By Bill Finley
Special to ESPN.com
Start: Point Given broke a bit slowly, but Gary Stevens didn't make the same mistake he made in the Kentucky Derby. Instead of nudging him to get him into early position, he let his horse settle into the stride as the speedy Richly Blended took off for the lead. A relaxed Point Given has his mind on business.
First Turn: Point Given settles into ninth in the 11-horse field. Though the pace is much slower than it was in the Kentucky Derby and Point Given has just two horses beaten, Stevens senses that he is sitting pretty. "I knew going into the first turn that the race was over," he said. "He was taking to the track perfectly today."
Backstretch: Richly Blended is still in front, but his lead won't last for long. Point Given's stablemate, Congaree, swoops past him and takes the lead entering the turn. Stevens is still biding his time, but is ready to pounce. "As we went down the backside, I was sitting on a mountain," he said.
Second Turn: Point Given is rolling. Moving six wide while in hand, he starts to eat away at Congaree's lead. By the top of the stretch, he is on even terms with Congaree and is going the better of the two. "I was hoping Congaree would carry us to the middle of the stretch because this horse has a tendency to play around when he gets alone on the lead," Stevens said. "We got up next to Congaree and he started trying to lay on him, so I got him straightened and hit him a couple of times left-handed." Meanwhile, Monarchos is spinning his wheels, going nowhere. "I was trying to get close but my horse couldn't keep," jockey Jorge Chavez said of Monarchos.
Stretch to the Wire: Congaree puts up a brief fight, but it's clear that the race is over. A P Valentine makes a nice late run to close for second but is never a threat to Point Given, who made amends for his poor showing in the Kentucky Derby. He wins the Preakness by 2 1/4 lengths and covers the mile and three sixteenths in 1:55.51. "I've ridden a lot of very, very talented horses over the years and this horse is equal to many in the group," Stevens said.