Gun Runner Scratch Sets Up Nyquist v Exaggerator V in Preakness
Category : News
Wed 18/05/2016 - 01:04 EDT
With the May 17 announcement that Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Gun Runner will not compete in the Preakness Stakes May 21 at Pimlico, Nyquist’s path to winning the second jewel of the Triple Crown got considerably less difficult.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner was reported to be doing well physically, but the connections opted to rest their start colt to focus on the lucrative summer schedule of three year-old stakes races that notably includes the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga as well as the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park. Gun Runner won the Grade 2 Risen Star and Grade 2 Louisiana Derby this spring at Fair Grounds and factored prominently as a Preakness contender.
Stage set for top two
In the absence of Gun Runner, the matchup between Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and runner-up Exaggerator is likely to garner even more attention as the pair will square off for the fifth time in their careers. The unbeaten Nyquist has defeated Exaggerator four times at three different race tracks and four different distances. With rain in the Baltimore forecast for the Preakness, Exaggerator backers could be hoping that a wet surface moves the colt up enough to finally defeat his primary rival.
On the grounds and ready to roll
Both Nyquist and Exaggerator have arrived at Pimlico to acclimate to the racing surface and new surroundings. Nyquist would be the third straight Kentucky Derby winner to also take the Preakness following California Chrome in 2014 and American Pharoah last year.
The field has been established for the 2016 running of the Belmont Stakes and of the thirteen contenders, there are four horses who competed in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and are moving on to the third jewel of the Triple Crown.
Wise guys who liked Stradivari in the Preakness have every right to maintain their enthusiasm for the Todd Pletcher-trained colt in the Belmont Stakes where the intriguing runner will likely make his next start.
The 2016 edition of the Preakness Stakes is in the record books and horse racing fans will have to go another year without a Triple Crown on the line. Exaggerator was able to defeat his rival and step into the spotlight with a victory at Pimlico Race Course.
The field for the Preakness (G1) Stakes on Saturday, May 21 is still coming together but there are several probable fresh faces ready to take on Nyquist. The field is limited to fourteen starters and the race will be contested at a mile and three-sixteenths at Pimlico Race Course.