Though bred in Kentucky, Laurel Park was training ground for the flighty Damascus, who channeled his nervous energy into victories. He won 21 of 32 starts and finished out of the money once, when injured in his last race. Named for the town in Montgomery County, Damascus was Horse of the Year in 1967 after winning the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, plus nine other stakes races and a then-record $817,941. His late arrival at Pimlico, on the very day of the race, caused a buzz, but Damascus responded with the second fastest Preakness time ever for trainer Frank Whiteley, Jr., of Laurel. However, his signature victory came in the Woodward Stakes, when Willie Shoemaker rode Damascus to a 10-length win over Buckpasser and Dr. Fager, both high-ranking Hall of Fame horses.
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