Hansel, the Kentucky Derby favorite who finished a dismal 10th two weeks ago, roared to a seven-length victory Saturday in the 116th Preakness Stakes.
Corporate Report was second and Derby show horse Mane Minister again finished third.Derby winner Strike the Gold finished sixth, meaning there will be no Triple Crown champion this year. Affirmed became the 11th and last Triple crown winner in 1978.
Hansel, who did not not even commit to the middle jewel of the Triple Crown until Tuesday, covered the 1 1-16 miles under Jerry Bailey in 1:54 - tying Canonero II in 1971 for the fifth fastest Preakness time. Hansel's time was three-fifths of a second off the record set by Tank's Prospect in 1985.
Hansel, the 5-2 Derby favorite off impressive victories in the Jim Beam and Lexington stakes, never took the bit at Churchill Downs and loped around as if he were way out of his class.
But before a Pimlico crowd of some 90,000 and under partly cloudy skies and in a blustery chilly wind, he looked eager from the start. He fought his escort pony in the post parade, and once the gate opened, he wasted no time establishing position. He was third behind Corporate Report and Olympio the first time past the grandstand, then moved into second down the back side.
"I knew going into the first turn he was going to run big," Bailey said.
Hansel then went outside to pass Corporate Report approaching the half-mile pole. He began to draw away from the other seven challengers as he rounded the final turn. As he straightened for home, the only questions were his margin of victory and the second- and third-place finishers.
Olympio, the second choice at 5-2, was fourth and Best Pal, the Derby runner-up, finished fifth. Strike the Gold was last at the top of the stretch.
"He got off a touch slow but that didn't seem to bother him a bit," said Strike the Gold jockey Chris Antley. "He was right on their flanks."
Added Strike the Gold trainer Nick Zito: "Chris had him in a perfect spot. . . . But that's racing. I think he'll come back."