Favorites have won 72 of the 140 Preakness Stakes and I see no reason why this year’s Kentucky Derby winner -- NYQUIST -- won’t make it 73.
This undefeated versatile colt has done nothing wrong, he has yet to even let a horse pass him on the stretch run. He is the cream of the 3-year old crop, and I can’t imagine him losing at a shorter distance than the Derby against a softer field. Nyquist has been galloping and looking great since winning the first jewel of the Triple Crown. It would take a non-interested run by him and extraordinary effort by a challenger for him not to come up on top.
Derby runner-up EXAGGERATOR, has now lost to Nyquist four times and must be tired of watching Nyquist get his picture taken. I will say this, he did finish well in the Derby but he was never going to pass Nyquist. As for the new shooters in the field, none of them qualified for the Kentucky Derby. How are they going to beat him now? Only three of last 32 Preakness winners didn’t start in the Derby. Good luck beating Nyquist. Expect another impressive win by Nyquist and let’s get ready for the buildup to the Belmont in three weeks for the chance of seeing back-to-back Triple Crown winners.
Nyquist : With more front running speed in the Derby and all the speed to his outside, expect him to escort the pace to the final turn before the big pounce. This is not a group of monsters he’s about to face, so expect him to be sitting relaxed in the wind tunnel behind them. With only his fourth start this year, his legs are fresh and strong. It wouldn’t surprise me if he drew away by a large margin.
Exaggerator: You know what this talented late closing colt has going for him today? Baltimore is supposed to get two inches of rain. Exaggerator is a mud specialist. His best win to date was in the Santa Anita Derby, where he crushed the field on a muddy track. He’ll need a pace meltdown, a sloppy track, and a lot of luck to get the win. Expect him to take plenty of tote support if the rain comes.
Stradivari: Has three career starts and has won his last two efforts by a combined 25 lengths. He probably is the best bet of the new shooters to have a chance to make a dent in the race. But he’s never faced a field with this much class, and his recent workouts were not eye popping.
Collected: Winner of the Lexington Stakes by a four-length margin, and has been resting solely for the Preakness. He’s trained by Bob Baffert, winner of six Preakness Stakes. Should put himself in the hunt up front from the get-go and is a worthy consideration for the minor awards.
With all that said, here are my bets.
$7 Trifecta: Nyquist over Exaggerator over All (The rest of the field) $63
$4 Trifecta: Nyquist over All over Exaggerator $36