Mylute, trained by New Orleanian Tom Amoss and ridden by three-time Fair Grounds champion Rosie Napravnik, closed from last to finish third in the Preakness Saturday, leaving the door open for a shot in the Belmont in three weeks.
“My horse ran great,” Amoss said. “The pace was a disappointment up front.
“I thought there would be more speed; it didn’t materialize. We were probably at the biggest disadvantage of all, coming from way back and being the widest in the race. We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.”
Napravnik, attempting to become the first female winner of the Preakness on the track where she scored her first victory seven years ago, agreed that Mylute was sluggish out of the gate.
“Then he got going,” she said. “I was too far back to see who the leaders were, and this was a tough pace to follow.
“But he ran great down the lane and closed well.”
Mylute finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby, one spot ahead of Oxbow. A 10-1 shot, Mylute paid $5.20 to show.
“I actually look at this like a missed opportunity because my horse ran a big race today,” Amoss said.
Al Stall Jr., Amoss’ fellow New Orleanian and close friend, indicated he felt Mylute would be back for the Belmont, which will be run June 8.
“Mylute is a very solid, consistent horse,” he said. “He runs his race and always gets himself into position.
“He’s a tough animal.”
Stall’s Departing began the week considered the top contender to Orb based on his freshness and victory in the Illinois Derby.
But the Brian Hernandez Jr.-ridden gelding was never a factor Saturday, finishing sixth, two spots behind Orb.
“We were travelling pretty well there ahead of Orb, but the horse did not come home,” Stall said. “He was totally exhausted.
“We fought the track, but everybody had to run over it, so we have no excuses. We we’re worried about the Oxbow’s and Itsmyluckydays of the world, but today wasn’t our horse’s day.”
It was the second Preakness start for Stall, whose Terrain finished seventh in 2009.
It was the first Triple Crown race of any kind for the Lafayette-born Hernandez, who agreed that Departing could have done better.
“On the second turn, Orb was inside of me, and we spurted away from him and got up to third,” he said. “But he was just a little dull today.
“I don’t know why. It seemed like he handled the track OK.”
Stall said there will be no Belmont for Departing.
“We’re going to be on the low road — the Ohio Derby, the Indiana Derby, the Mountaineer,” he said. “Those are good races, but they’re just not the classics.”
Orb’s defeat reinforced Dallas Stewart’s belief that Golden Soul, the New Orleanian’s Kentucky Derby runner-up who skipped the Preakness, will be a contender in the Belmont.
“We’re looking good,” said Stewart, who watched the race from Churchill Downs, where Golden Soul is stabled. “We have a good, fresh horse, so we’ll just head up to Belmont and see what happens.”
Golden Soul was second to Preakness winner Oxbow in the Lecompte Stakes.
Stewart added that while he was surprised that Orb did poorly, he was happy for D. Wayne Lukas, Oxbow’s trainer, for whom Stewart worked for Lukas 12 years before venturing out on his own and for Amoss, his fellow New Orleanian.
“Wayne and Gary (Stevens) really got the job done today,” he said. “That’s racing.”