Cherry Wine may have drawn post 1 in the Preakness Stakes, but Nyquist remains the horse betting favorite for the second leg of the Triple Crown – to be raced this Saturday 21st. The draw for the race was held on May 18th and went thusly:
1. Cherry Wine.
2. Uncle Lino.
4. Awesome Speed.
9. Abiding Star.
Exaggerator, who finished the Kentucky Derby in second place and poses the biggest threat to Nyquist Triple Crown aspirations, drew post 5. The weather forecast calls for a 70% chance of rain on Saturday – Exaggerator has won two graded stakes on wet tracks. However, the forecast for people who bet on horses is Nyquist with a chance of rain. The Derby champion’s trainer Doug O’Neill said he didn’t think the rain would bother his colt – and how could it? Nyquist is the Gene Kelly of racing horses.
Lani – also known as the Karate Colt, at least by me – drew post 6 and is the only other Derby runner in the Preakness Stakes; Gun Runner was withdrawn from consideration on Tuesday. Horse betting fans are dying to know if trainer Mikio Matsunaga’s teaching methods include waxing on, waxing off. One also has to wonder whether Stradivari, who drew post 11, could emerge as a dark horse and provide a third alternative to Nyquist and Exxie or people who bet on horses.
Notwithstanding individual horses, the Preakness will be more like One vs. All for Nyquist. O’Neill and owner Paul Reddam have a lot riding on Nyquist – well, not so much a lot; I mean, how much can a jockey really weigh? But you get the idea. Both men were poised to win the Triple Crown in 2012 with I’ll Have Another until the horse suffered a tendon injury and had to be scratched a day before the Belmont Stakes (perhaps He Had One Too Many?). Now they have colt who is not only unbeaten but also seems to be unbeatable.
Nyquist has won all of his eight races, including five grade 1 stakes events at five different tracks – which include, of course, the Kentucky Derby. Additionally, he is only the 6th Derby champion to arrive at Pimlico with perfect record, following Majestic Prince, Seattle Slew, Smarty Jones, Big Brown, and Barbaro… poor, poor Barbaro. Oh, well. Many people in and out of horse betting have consistently underestimate Nyquist, especially when compared with last year’s sensation American Pharoah. I, for one, think it’s the other way around; it’s Pharoah who was overrated – he couldn’t even spell his name right. Like Richard III, I’ve got a hunch; a hunch that Nyquist will have stepped out of American Pharoah’s shadow when all is said and done.