Seize the Grey earns wire-to-wire Preakness Stakes win on muddy track

Jaime Torres, atop Seize The Grey, leads the pack heading into the first turn before winning the Preakness Stakes
Jaime Torres, front, atop Seize The Grey, leads the pack heading into the first turn before winning the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course Saturday in Baltimore.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

The 149th running of the Preakness Stakes was one for the ages. And the winning age was 88.

In an outcome few saw coming, Wayne Lukas won his seventh Preakness on Saturday when Seize the Grey broke in front and never surrendered the lead over 1 3/16 miles. Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan did not disappoint with a solid runner-up finish, but it ended any chance of a Triple Crown.

Lukas walks with a cane but still gets up on his pony every morning and supervises the training of his horses.


All of the other trainers made a point to congratulate him after the race. Lukas, who is known as “The Coach” because he was a high school basketball coach, was touched by the display of affection.

“One of the things that was very significant to me [Saturday] — and maybe it’s because I’m getting a little bit older — but as I came out of the grandstand and out across the racetrack, every one of the guys that were in that race stopped and hugged me and gave me a handshake.

“That meant more to me than any single thing. [Bob] Baffert, Kenny McPeek, right down the line.”

At that point Lukas’ phone started ringing.

“This is probably Bill Gates, so I maybe should take it,” he said before holding up his flip phone.

“How about this? Do you think I’m not 88 years old?”

Seize the Grey was overlooked by many because it appeared his best distance was a mile. Two weeks ago, he won the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on the Derby undercard. He was seventh in the Blue Grass Stakes and third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks , both at more than a mile.

He also had an inexperienced jockey in Jaime Torres, who was riding in his first Triple Crown race. Just last year Torres was an apprentice jockey on the New York circuit.

“I’m very excited and very thankful to all the people who have been beside me, helping me,” Torres said. “A lot of people, a lot of jockeys, we came from the bottom and to afford flights and things like that are hard, but they still do it because they love me and I appreciate it a lot.”


Seize the Grey is owned by a group called MyRacehorse, which sells microshares of horses to give people the experience, or illusion, of owning a racehorse. In this case, 5,000 shares were offered at $127 each. There are 2,570 owners representing 42 states. A lottery was held to decide which of the owners would get a spot at Pimlico Race Course and which got to get in the Winner’s Circle.

“I didn’t think we’d get up there,” Lukas said of the walk to the Winner’s Circle. “They really turned them loose. I’ve been in some cattle drives that were more organized than that. It was really chaotic.”

Jockey Jaime Torres, atop Seize The Grey, reacts after winning the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course Saturday
Jockey Jaime Torres, atop Seize The Grey, reacts after winning the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course Saturday in Baltimore.
(Julia Nikhinson / Associated Press)

It is the second MyRacehorse winner of a Triple Crown race, as Authentic won the Kentucky Derby in 2020.

It rained for most of the day, leaving the surface muddy. Seize the Grey broke his maiden on a sloppy track and showed the surface was no problem.

Seize the Grey paid $21.60 to win. He was followed by Mystik Dan, Catching Freedom, Tuscan Gold, Just Steel, Uncle Heavy, Imagination and Mugutu. The top three horses, and four of the top five, all ran on two weeks rest. So much for the theory they need more time to recover.


McPeek, trainer of Mystik Dan, was happy for Lukas.

“Look, Wayne’s an amazing guy,” McPeek said. “He’s a guy that I’ve idolized and if I’m going to get beat, it’s fine if I get beat by him. Actually, over the years, I’ve been beaten by him plenty of times. That’s why horse racing is so hard. There are no givens. He brings in a horse two weeks after he won the Pat Day Mile and you’ve got to give it to him.”

The last time Lukas won the Preakness was 11 years ago when Oxbow won the second leg of the Triple Crown. His first win at Pimlico came 44 years ago with Codex. He was asked how this one ranked.

“People ask that all the time, and the last one is always the sweetest,” he said. “The last girl you dance with is the one you take home. The thing about it is every time we’ve been lucky to win one of these, it’s been with a different client, and that’s what makes it special. … That’s what I get paid for, to let them live the dream.”

The only California horse in the race was Imagination, who is trained by Baffert. He brought two horses to Pimlico but Muth, who had been the morning line favorite, had to scratch Wednesday because of a fever.

Imagination has nine different ownership groups. Now, he needs a win in a Triple Crown race to make a lot of people happy. Can he win Saturday’s Preakness Stakes?

May 16, 2024

Baffert is the only person who has more Preakness wins than Lukas. He won his eighth last year with National Treasure.

“We didn’t really have a plan,” Baffert said. “We thought it would be Wayne or us [on the lead]. … At the end of the day, it was a great tactic. That’s the way Wayne and I have won these races, on the lead.”


It was Seize the Grey and Imagination out front out of the gate and through the stretch the first time. On the turn, Seize the Grey stretched the lead to two lengths, a distance he took down the backstretch and into the turn. As he hit the top of the stretch any horse that had a lot left could have made a run at him. As it turned out, Mystik Dan made up distance but it wasn’t near enough as Seize the Grey won by 2 ¼ lengths.

The final race of the Triple Crown series is in three weeks when the Belmont Stakes is held at Saratoga and run at 1 ¼ miles instead of the traditional 1 ½ miles.

Lukas will see how the horse feels before he decides to enter him.

“If we go, we’ll be tough,” Lukas said. “He’ll get 1 1/4 miles. He would have gotten 1 1/4 miles [Saturday].”

At a time when horse racing needs heroes and stars, how is it that the answer was an 88-year-old Hall of Famer?