Early Voting blew by the very highly touted Epicenter to deliver the winning run of the 147th Preakness Stakes and take the victor’s share of the race’s $1.5 million purse. It wasn’t quite as big a surprise as the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, but the result, with Epicenter placing, was eerily the same. Given the heavy favoritism shown Epicenter by the money at the track, Early Voting brought quite some pep, also, to the tote, paying $13.40 for the win. Epicenter, the overwhelming favorite, paid an expectedly low $2.80 in place. In show, Creative Minister, whose odds lowered in the late innings before post time, paid $4.20.
For her part, the filly Secret Oath ran a game fourth, making a big move at the top of the stretch that brought her for a few short seconds into third, but could not hold her own with the boys, disappointing many who had pinned their hopes to her Oaks-winning style. Skippylongstocking ran a rather lackluster fifth.
Epicenter’s very style was his undoing. He took back at the start and laboriously worked his way up through the pack on the backstretch, at one point the caller of the race describing the favorite as trapped behind a “wall” of horses. That left him with simply too much to do into the far turn and out of that into the stretch. It wasn’t so much that he lost the race by running badly, in fact the game athlete ran well — it was more that he allowed the race to be run in front of him, and that got into a more trouble than he could handle as the finish line rushed at him.
Early Voting broke very well and got right down to business without dallying, staying just off the lead, which was held by longshot Armagnac up much of the backstretch, laying second for most of the way. That steadiness left Early Voting in an altogether better position to do what he wanted when the leaders turned into the stretch.