The first trainer to gear his operation toward Triple Crown races, Lukas took a run at the coveted prize in 1999 with Charismatic. The unsung 3-year-old won the Derby and Preakness, but broke his leg in the stretch of the Belmont while finishing third.
Oxbow, sent off at odds of 15-1, took charge from the start out of the No. 6 post and beat Itsmyluckyday by 1¾ lengths. Mylute, with Rosie Napravnik bidding to become the first female to win the Preakness, was third, followed by Orb, Goldencents, Departing, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie and Titletown Five.
Orb's trainer, Shug McGaughey, so confident in the two weeks leading up to the race, was gracious despite his disappointment.
"It was a great opportunity," the Hall of Famer said. "We were 3-5 and we finished fourth. We'll pack it up and go home. Hats off to Wayne."
He also recalled a brief conversation with Lukas a few days before the race.
"Just two days ago, he said to me 'We got another one on the agenda,'" McGaughey said. "And darn if two days later he didn't get it ... When Wayne wasn't going good, he was still the first guy out on his pony. The guy's a credit to racing. He's always upbeat and optimistic."
Orb came into the Preakness with a five-race winning streak and many expected him to win easily. But it wasn't to be on an overcast windy day at Pimlico Race Course, where 117,203 fans turned out.
Oxbow went to the lead ahead of Goldencents and opened some daylight into the first turn. Orb, who broke slowly as expected, wound up in a cluster of horses around the turn and into the backstretch. While Oxbow was cruising along in front, Rosario tried to find room outside but found his path blocked. Orb dropped back to the inside, and perhaps frustrated without any space to run free like he did in the Derby, fell back to seventh and was never a threat in the stretch.
"The pace was slower than I anticipated," McGaughey said. "I thought maybe they would speed it up a little bit but they didn't. I thought we would close into it but it just wasn't his day. He was just never real comfortable once he got down in there."
Oxbow covered the 1 3-16 miles in a slow 1:57.54 and paid $32.80, $12 and $8.80. Itsmyluckyday, 15th in the Derby, returned $7.80 and $5 and Mylute paid $5.20 to show.
Lukas had three of the nine horses in the Preakness, and it was his best Derby finisher who was able to come through. Just like that, he broke the tie with "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons for most Triple Crown wins.
"I shared that record with a very special name," Lukas said. "If I never broke it, I was proud of that. But I'm also proud to have it."