Nyquist and Exaggerator are developing a beautiful little rivalry…sort of.
The top two finishers at the recent running of the Kentucky Derby will go head to head for a fifth time when the 2016 Preakness Stakes field storms Pimlico this weekend. While Nyquist has remained undefeated, Exaggerator has gone 2nd in two of those races, 4th in another and 5th in the maiden debuts for each.
Calling the history between Nyquist and Exaggerator a rivalry might be a stretch given that one horse has won all the races. But news has come in that rain may drown Pimlico over the weekend. A muddy track actually favors Exaggerator considering what he accomplished in a sloppy Santa Anita Derby.
“We were really happy,” said Exaggerator’s trainer Doug O’Neil regarding the conditions. “the track looked great and Jonny said it felt great. Land Over Sea had a really nice gallop at about 5:45 a.m. and Nyquist followed her and went around 6:00, 6:15 and he looked really well.”
Land Over Sea is one of the preferences at the Black Eyed Susan Stakes, which runs on Friday evening.
“I guess a little bit of rain is not that big of a deal,” continued O’Neil. “But if you get a downpour, and the track being a little uneven, and horses getting poured on while they’re sweating, too, they can maybe potentially get sick. So, training under dry conditions seems to be beneficial.”
Hopes of another Triple Crown winner rest on Nyquist’s haunches and regardless of wet conditions, it’s hard to imagine him having any troubles. The Florida Derby was an equally mucky affair, and Nyquist decimated the field in that race without a worry.
The field will be round out by Abiding Star, Fellowship, Lani, Cherry Wine, Laoban, Stradivari, Uncle Lino, Collected and Awesome Speed. It remains to be seen which horses drop out. The Preakness Stakes has traditionally run with a small field of about nine. The one thing we do know is that Nyquist and Exaggerator will be ready to go at it again, no matter the conditions and regardless of the other competition.