A half-mile into the Preakness Stakes, Mystik Dan was halfway to déjà vu. The bay colt was hugging the rail, biding his time behind the lead pack, waiting for an opening as he headed into the final turn at Pimlico Race Course.

Two weeks ago, Mystik Dan had been there at Churchill Downs, then turned into the homestretch with the lead at the Kentucky Derby and held on for a dramatic photo-finish win.

A half-mile into the Preakness, D. Wayne Lukas had his own feeling. A good one. As the legendary trainer watched Seize the Grey take the lead and then keep the lead in the $2 million, 1 3/16-mile race Saturday, Lukas turned to his wife, Laurie.

“Watch out,” he told her. “We’re home free.”

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There would be no catching Seize the Grey. And there would be no Triple Crown for Mystik Dan, who went off as the 2-1 favorite but could not track down Lukas’ wire-to-wire winner. He finished second and 2 1/4 lengths off the pace, extending a six-year drought in which the Derby winner has fallen short at the Preakness.

It’s the longest such drought since 1989 to 1997, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Mystik Dan trainer Kenny McPeek said afterward that he expected Seize the Grey to fire ahead early, as he did. And he thought jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. would be able to reel him in, too. But on the muddy track, “unfortunately,” Hernandez said, “we were second best today.”

“You have to congratulate the winner, because he did it all on their own terms,” Hernandez added. “My horse ran well. … To win the Derby like he did and then come back today and run a respectable second, you have to be proud of him. We kind of expected Seize the Grey to show some speed coming out of there. I didn’t think he’d be that quick, but he set his own fractions … and he was able to kick away as well.”

Said McPeek: “Wayne’s amazing. What can you say? Stolen on the front. [Lukas] said he was going to go. I think Brian made the right move. Obviously, speed held. That’s why they call it horse racing, right?”

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McPeek told NBC after the race that it “wasn’t his day” but Mystik Dan would “live to race again.” With a victory in the Triple Crown’s middle jewel, McPeek likely would’ve pointed the horse toward the June 8 Belmont Stakes. But, after his runner-up finish, Mystik Dan is not expected to head to New York’s Saratoga Race Course. McPeek called his journey with the Derby winner “fantastic.”

“He’s a lovely horse,” he said. “Racing is like unfair boxing. You get punched in the mouth six or seven times, but you get to hit them once, and it feels so good, you say, ‘Let’s do it again.’”