Triple Crown Near-Misses: Shut Out Gets Shut Out in the Preakness

Poor Shut Out. The son of the great Equipoise stood in the shadow of his stablemate, Devil Diver so much that when it came time to choosing a mount for the Kentucky Derby, the great Eddie Arcaro chose Devil Diver over him. He won 2 of 3 Triple Crown races in 1942, yet finished behind Alsab for Three-Year-Old Male Horse of the Year.

Shut Out’s 2-year-old campaign was good, but not great. He won 3 of 9 races in 1941 but began to shine as a 3-year-old, taking the Blue Grass Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths. He and Devil Diver were made the 9-5 favorites in the Kentucky Derby.

Shut Out stalked the leaders for the first mile, settling for third place, a head in front of Alsab and a half-length ahead of Devil Diver. Devil Diver made his move, and Shut Out went with him. Jockey Wayne Wright passed the leaders, headed for the homestretch in front, and finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of a hard-charging Alsab. Devil Diver and Arcaro settled for a disappointing sixth.

Fans weren’t impressed, though, and made Alsab the 2-1 favorite for the Preakness. Shut Out and Devil Diver were at 5-2. They were right; Alsab won by a length over Sun Again and Requested. Shut Out finished fifth, never in the running. Devil Diver was eighth.

Arcaro realized his mistake and took over the reins for Shut Out for the Belmont. He sat back in sixth place for the first part of the race, and then Arcaro sent him to the front quickly. Alsab tried to catch him, but Shut Out had built a commanding lead and hung on to win by 2 lengths.

You’d think that would be enough to win Horse of the Year, especially when Shut Out finished the year with 8 wins in 12 starts, compared to Alsab’s 9 wins in 23 races. But Alsab won the American Derby and Withers Stakes and then beat 4-year-old Whirlaway in a match race. Alsab won Champion 3-Year-Old Male Horse, again shutting out Shut Out.