Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Still Picture Perfect Silver Charm Again Wins Photo Finish in Preakness

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Still Picture Perfect Silver Charm Again Wins Photo Finish in Preakness

Article excerpt

Showing the courage and determination few believed he had, Silver Charm kept a date with destiny Saturday by winning the 122nd Preakness in a photo finish over Free House and Captain Bodgit.

The crowd of 88,594 at Pimlico and a national-television audience were treated to a superb race. The three horses were separated by less than 3 feet at the wire, with Silver Charm winning by a nose over Free House and a head over Captain Bodgit.

Free House was the third-place finisher at the Kentucky Derby, and Captain Bodgit was the runner-up at Churchill Downs. A victory at the 129th Belmont on June 7 will make Silver Charm the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Not bad for a horse sold just two years ago for only $85,000. "It's like a big wave and we're riding it now," Silver Charm trainer Bob Baffert said. "This horse just knows how to win." True to his underdog persona, Silver Charm hardly impressed the Preakness bettors, going off as the third choice at 3-1 and paying $8.20, $4.00 and $2.60. His time of 1:54 4/5 was pedestrian, but good enough. Maryland-bred Captain Bodgit and Free House were co-favorites at 2-1, returning $3.60, $2.60 and $2.20, respectively. But jockey Gary Stevens had Silver Charm stalking Free House through the backstretch and holding second by a half-length at the mile pole. The colt then battled over the final 25 yards to the wire to edge Free House and hold off Captain Bodgit, becoming the first horse to win the Derby and Preakness since Sunday Silence in 1989. "We needed it and horse racing needed it," Stevens said after his first Preakness victory in nine starts. "Thank goodness he managed to get his nose down there at the end. That's probably the greatest race I've ever been associated with." Greatness is now what Silver Charm is approaching. The steel-gray, Florida-bred colt has been first or second in all eight career starts - with five victories. He is toughest heading to the wire, adding this triumph to his win by a head at the Derby. …

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