When is a Horse a Dog? When he's An Underdog at Preakness

Exaggerator, the underdogThree-year old colt Exaggerator has finished in the top 5 five times and has won four times in his 10 races. In any other circumstances he would be the horse betting odds-on favorites, but the Preakness Stakes he has to settle for playing underdog to Nyquist, the actual favorite for people who bet on horses. Heavy rain – like, actual liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and become heavy enough to fall under gravity, not a horse called Heavy Rain – is in the forecast for Saturday, May 21st, when the 141st Preakness will be run.

The weather could actually help Exaggerator, as well as fans putting their horse betting money on him. The colt ran a 103 Beyer speed number in the Delta Downs Jackpot last November, and a 102 in the Santa Anita Derby in April – both contested on muddy tracks. While the possibly wet track at Pimlico is being cited as an advantage for Exaggerator, we shouldn’t forget that Nyquist is no stranger to muddy tracks, either. And considering that the latter is undefeated in 8 races, it could be safe to say that he is an all-arounder.

In addition to that, Exxie’s ability to bounce back – according to his trainer Keith Desormeaux – could allow him to recover and remain a threat to Nyquist only two short weeks after the Kentucky Derby. Both colts are among the very few who will repeat from the Run of the Roses. Either by design or by coincidence, Nyquist seems to have scared away the competition. Beware the quiet ones, I guess. Nyquist has won all four races – including the Derby – in which he has competed in the same track with Exaggerator, which is enough to make the latter the Preakness underdog in the eyes of people who bet on horses. Moreover, Desormeaux is 0-8 against the Derby winner. One rationale – which is not very rational – behind the trainer wanting to have yet another go at Nyquist, is that the unbeaten horse has become Desormeaux’s White Whale to his Captain Ahab. Then again, Exaggerator has narrowed his losing margin against Nyquist with each race, so maybe this is his time.

And speaking of playing second fiddle, Stradivari is the only other horse that has the potential to get between Nyquist and Exxie. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt has been looking good at Belmont and has won his last two races by significant margins, making him a popular horse betting upset pick for people who want to avoid the chalk in the Preakness. Additionally, Bob Baffert's Collected could challenge Nyquist for the early lead and potentially be a factor into the exotic bets.