Animal Kingdom came into the Preakness Stakes riding high after a surprise win at the Kentucky Derby just two weeks ago. As a 20-1 long-shot at Churchill Downs, Animal Kingdom used a late kick to reel-in the field and take the win in the first leg of the Triple Crown, setting up a showdown at Pimlico in the Preakness. As the horses were called to the post, Animal Kingdom was no longer the long-shot, but instead held the best odds at 5/2.
The full field of 14 was loaded into the gates at Pimlico as a bustling crowd in attendance waited for the main event of the day. Dance City, who has a well-documented aversion to starting gates, was loaded first after putting up a bit of a protest, and was followed by the rest of the field without incident. And on a beautiful day in Baltimore, with sunny skies and 80 degree weather, the field bolted from the gates as the 2011 Preakness Stakes got underway.
As they broke for the rail and headed for the first turn, Flashpoint and Shackleford headed towards the front, as expected. At the first turn, Flashpoint and Shackleford were out in front with about a length between themselves and the rest of the field. The two ran a blazing first 1/4 mile in the 22 second range, setting a quick pace in contrast to the Kentucky Derby.
Down the back-stretch, it was Flashpoint in the lead, Shackleford in second, Midnight Interlude in third and Astrology in fourth. The closers were in their own pack well-behind, waiting for the right moment. As they hit the stretch, Animal Kingdom sat a good seven lengths behind.
As thy came down the stretch, Animal Kingdom came flying down the center of the track as the pack made its move, but he ran out of real estate as Shackleford held off the field to take the Preakness. It was a wire-to-wire win for Shackleford as he set a quicker pace than at the Kentucky Derby this time around. Animal Kingdom was second, just about 3/4 of a length behind.
You can find full coverage on the race, including upcoming posts on the purse and payouts, here.
Stay with our Preakness Stakes StoryStream for more on the race as it becomes available. For all your horse racing needs, head over to And Down The Stretch They Come. Check out SB Nation's 2011 Preakness Stakes StoryStream for updates throughout the week.