Gun Runner Scratch Sets Up Nyquist v Exaggerator V in Preakness

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. 

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