- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 20, 2007

Affirmed’s place in history as the last Triple Crown winner remained intact Saturday when Curlin (above) rebounded from his third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby to defeat favorite Street Sense by a head bob in the Preakness Stakes. A look at the race:

QUARTER-MILE

The leader: As expected, Xchanger, breaking from post No. 2, assumed the early lead. And as expected, Flying First Class, starting from post No. 6, was just a half-length behind. The first quarter was run in a swift 22.83 seconds. Hard Spun was third and Street Sense eighth.

Where the winner was: After stumbling out of the gate, jockey Robby Albarado had to use Curlin a little more than he wanted to, and he was running in sixth place.

HALF-MILE

The leader: Xchanger and Flying First Class continued to run first and second. The half-mile time was 45.75 seconds, a sign they already were starting to slow down. Hard Spun was stalking from third place, and Street Sense remained in eighth.

Where the winner was: Curlin actually lost a position and was in seventh place, 13 lengths behind the leader.

3/4-MILE

The leader: It was all over for Xchanger and Flying First Class — they wilted, and Hard Spun took a two-length lead over C P West entering the second turn. The first six furlongs were run in 1:09.80. Street Sense was eighth.

Where the winner was: Curlin continued to bide his time in the back of the pack. He was sixth, having passed only Mint Slewlep during the last quarter-mile.

STRETCH

The leader: As he did in the Derby two weeks ago, once Street Sense got moving, he didn’t waste any time. He moved from seventh to first swiftly and led Curlin by a length-and-a-half. Hard Spun began to tire and was in third.

Where the winner was: Curlin moved from sixth to second but wasn’t experiencing a ground-saving trip — Albarado had to steer him five-wide to avoid traffic.

FINISH

The winner: Street Sense appeared to be pulling away, but as he began to lug, Curlin turned on the jets, traveling on the outside of Street Sense to win in a head bob.

What the winner paid: As the second favorite ($3.40-1), Curlin paid $8.80, $3.80 and $2.80 and ran the 1 3/16 miles in 1:53.46.

— Ryan O’Halloran

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