BALTIMORE - Over six hundred people followed Stable Pony Lava Man out of the gates at Pimlico Saturday to run in the "Down the Stretch for SGK" Preakness 5K. The 3.1 mile race, which includes a lap around the track, marks the unofficial kick off of Preakness festivities.
A California couple won the men and women's divisions respectively.
Neville Davey, a 37-year-old from Menlo Park, Ca. finished in 16:01, 62 seconds ahead of Gabriel Rodriguez of Baltimore. Davey's girlfriend, Heather Tanner won the female division in 18:21, 40 seconds ahead of Eldersburg's two-time defending champion Sherry Stick.
"What a great experience," said Davey. "We are in town to visit Heather's parents for Mother's Day and decided to run about a week ago. Her father and sister also ran today. I run in a lot of road races back in San Francisco so it was fun to run on the track. We'll be back next year and plan on staying through the Preakness."
Doug O'Neill, the trainer of Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another participated as did every member of Team O'Neill.
"We just want to embrace everything about the event," O'Neill said. "Who knows if we'll ever be back so why not enjoy the entire Preakness experience and be part of the Baltimore community."