The undefeated Nyquist seeks to become the fourth Kentucky Derby (G1) winner in the last five years to win the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1), and the Doug O’Neill trainee will be the betting favorite in the field of 11 that will go to the post at Pimlico on Saturday evening.
Nyquist’s price drifted up from his 3-5 morning line to even money in early betting on Friday, as Exaggerator took some action, his 3-1 morning line bet down to 9-5.
The weather forecast as of Friday night was still calling for an 80% chance of rain with up to a half-inch in accumulation. Last year American Pharoah won the Preakness in a deluge and sloppy track.
Now, I have been as critical of weathermen as much as anyone. I have said if they had to wager on their forecasts, Al Roker would be living in a cardboard box.
A couple of things to keep in mind for Saturday’s 14-race card which kicks off at 10:30am ET, with the Preakness set for 6:45 ET.
Showers are supposed to start at 6:00am and continue throughout the day. However, the chance of rain at 5:00 is 55% and is just 35% at 6:00. If the rain tapers off in the early afternoon keep in mind that the Pimlico main track does dry out quickly.
So if you like Exaggerator based on his big efforts on the off going, you may want to wait and see how the track looks closer to post time.
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The 14-race card includes seven supporting stakes including the $250,000 Dixie (G2) on turf. Bill Mott announced yesterday he will scratch his two runners, Long On Value and Take The Stand which still leaves a field of 11 as long as the race stays on the turf.
The $100,000 Sir Barton drew a field of 14 three-year-olds including Dazzling Gem, who bypasses the Preakness for this easier spot. He catches a couple of tough runners in American Freedom and Gettysburg.
The $150,000 Galorette Handicap (G3) drew a field of 12 fillies and mares that will go 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The Graham Motion trained Tiger Ride is the 7-2 morning line favorite in a wide open race.
The $100,000 Chick Lang drew eight three-year-olds and looks like a good showdown between Justin Squared and Counterforce.
The $100,000 The Very One is a five-furlong turf sprint that hopefully stays on the grass. The race drew a field of 12 led by the 3-5 morning line favorite Lady Shipman.
The $100,000 James W. Murphy drew a field of nine led by the Marcus Vitali trainee Ousby, who beat $35,000 starter optional claimers in his last outing over turf labeled as good at Laurel Park.
Salutos Amigos is the even money morning line favorite for the $100,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) and his trainer David Jacobson is doing a rain dance. The six-year-old gelding is perfect in seven starts on wet tracks in his career. However, his price sure seems light as he catches a couple of quick runners he is going to have to run down.
Let’s head out to Pimlico for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Pimlico Race 13 The Preakness G1 (Post time 6:45 ET)
#3 Nyquist 3-5
#7 Collected 10-1
#5 Exaggerator 3-1
#10 Fellowship 30-1
Analysis: Nyquist is perfect in eight career starts and earned a career top Beyer Speed Figure in his Kentucky Derby (G1) win. He comes back in two weeks but let’s not forget he has had a light campaign, just the seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) before his Kentucky Derby victory.
O’Neill has been down this path before with I’ll Have Another. The colt should get a perfect trip sitting just off the pace and Derby winners and favorites have been dominant in this race. The chance of a wet track should not pose a problem as he ran well over a wet track at Gulfstream Park and is bred to like a wet track. The lone knock on this guy is his price.
Collected is coming off a sharp win in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland last out. After winning the Sham (G3) earlier this year he went into Oaklawn Park and was sent off as the betting favorite in the Southwest (G3) but came up short in a fourth place finish.
He has bounced back with two wins for Baffert who has won the Preakness six times. He has not had success with starters that did not race in the Derby first, but this colt still looks as if he has some upside, has a strong off track pedigree, and will have the jump on Exaggerator heading for home.
Exaggerator made a good late run to finish in the runner up spot in the Derby but has now finished behind Nyquist four times and hard to find a reason he will turn the tables here. He does like an off track as his Santa Anita Derby (G1) win in the slop was one of the most impressive Derby prep races.
However, the Pimlico surface dries out fast and the forecast is not always right. He should get some pace to run at but he may end up with too much to do in the final furlong.
Fellowship ran third in the Holy Bull (G2), Fountain of Youth (G2) and the Florida Derby (G1). His first start for trainer Mark Casse did not go well in a fourth place finish in the Pat Day Mile (G3). He has not run fast enough to win here but could rally for a small piece at a decent price.
WIN: #3 to win at 4-5 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 3,5,7,10
TRI: 3,7 / 3,5,7,10 / 3,5,7,10,11
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Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Preakness Day card from historic Pimlico. Michael is a Maryland bred and raced horses at Pimlico and knows the circuit from the backstretch to the finish line.
The second jewel of the Triple Crown will be run on Saturday May 21 at Pimlico. The big day of racing has seven supporting stakes including the Sir Barton Stakes, Miss Preakness Stakes (G3), Dixie Stakes (G2), Gallorette Handicap (G3), James W. Murphy Stakes, The Very One Stakes and the Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3).