Like any good sequel, the Preakness Stakes – the second leg of the Triple Crown Championship – will feature returning characters. First and foremost, fan and horse betting favorite, our hero, Nyquist. Also, we of course have the Rochefort to Nyquist’s D’Artagnan, Exaggerator. Lani has also been confirmed, while Gun Runner has not been ruled out. But it is the new additions to the cast that our protagonist has to keep an eye out on. At least eight new shooters – horses who did not run in the Kentucky Derby – will attempt to give Nyquist a run for his money – or rather his owner’s money (horses have no use for currency as opposed to people who bet on horses).
Stradivari. The leader of the pack, a 14-1/2-length winner in allowance company at Keeneland, Stradivari is “very scary” and “strikes a lot of fear in you,” according to Nyquist’s trainer Doug O’Neill channeling his inner Mickey Goldmill.
Collected. The son of City Zip has made his owners more than 2.5 times what he originally cost, and has won four of six lifetime starts, including two Grade 3 stakes, the Sham at Santa Anita and the Lexington at Keeneland. Now he has moved on to Grade 1 competition.
Uncle Lino. Uncle Lino is the son of Uncle Mo, which is rather avuncular. Jockey Fernando Hernandez Perez will ride Uncle Lino once more, as he has in all of his seven starts.
Abiding Star. Another one of Uncle Mo’s offspring, Abiding Star and other healthy horses have been retained at a Philadelphia racetrack since April the 1st as a result of a quarantine for equine herpesvirus – which, if lifted in the next few days, would allow Abiding Star to ship to Pimlico on Thursday morning. Otherwise, he will be scratched and obviously people who bet on horses would not be able to wager on him.
Awesome Speed. He won the Tesio on a wet track labeled good at Laurel on April 9th which automatically earned him a berth in the Preakness starting gate. However, trainer Alan Goldberg said track condition probably won’t make much difference, given that Awesome Speed would have improve considerably to contend with horse betting favorites like Nyquist and Exaggerator based on speed figures.
Cherry Wine. This horse was eligible for the Derby but ended up being scratched. Now, the son of Paddy O’Prado will represent the fifth Preakness starter for trainer Dale Romans.
Fellowship. This horse finished 4th in the Pat Day Mile (Grade 3) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.
Laoban. This dark bay colt would have the seldom seen distinction of breaking his maiden in a Triple Crown race were he to win the Preakness. But I know a certain horse betting favorite named after a Detroit Red Wings player who may have other plans.