Post time for the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course will be on Saturday May 21 at 6:18 p.m. ET. All eyes will be on Nyquist, the horse that is hoping to follow in the hoof prints of American Pharoah, who captivated the nation with last year’s Triple Crown. For good measure, American Pharoah ran away from the field in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year as well.
As things stand right now, the field for the Preakness only includes two other horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby. Post positions will be set on Wednesday night and odds will subsequently be posted at that time. At that time, we will update this article with the odds and the starting gate slots, but for now, here’s a look at the field, the jockeys, and the trainers.
For Doug O’Neill and Mario Gutierrez, the hope is that they can replicate the success that they had together in 2012. I’ll Have Another is O’Neill’s only win in this race. I’ll Have Another also won the 2012 Kentucky Derby. That horse was scratched prior to the Belmont the day before the race because of an injury. Unfortunately, that was the beginning of a long series of medical issues for I’ll Have Another. His racing career ended with the tendon injury and also an osteoarthritis diagnosis.
With Nyquist’s win, the most noticeable development is that Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher are bringing out some different weapons for this race. Baffert has six career wins in the Preakness, with his first in 1997 and his sixth last year with American Pharoah. Baffert also picked up winners with Lookin At Lucky, War Emblem, Point Given, Real Quiet, and Silver Charm. For as much success as Pletcher has had in his career, he has never had the winner of the Preakness.
Baffert ran with Mor Spirit in the Kentucky Derby and it did not go well. Mor Spirit finished 10th, well off the pace from its outside post in 17. Mor Spirit did close 12/1, but never really challenged during the race.
Collected was the winner of the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland about a month ago, so there was no chance of that horse running in the Kentucky Derby. This horse has been set up for success by running in some of the weaker Road to the Kentucky Derby races leading up to the Triple Crown contests. He also won the Sham at Santa Anita in January, but, again, that was a watered-down field.
Pletcher had two colts in the Derby. Destin was the better of the two, finishing in sixth place with odds of 15/1. Outwork was outworked by the field and finished 14th as a 15/1 shot. What’s interesting is that Javier Castellano rode Outwork, but will be atop Baffert’s horse Collected in the Preakness. John Velazquez, who rode on Destin, will also be Pletcher’s rider for the Preakness atop Stradivari. Early odds suggest that Stradivari could be one of the top challengers for Nyquist in this race.
Exaggerator is the colt looking for success with this short turnaround. Exaggerator finished second with the assistance of the Desormeaux brothers. Younger brother Kent is the jockey and older brother Keith is the trainer. Exaggerator comes from the bloodline of a former Preakness champion, Curlin, back in 2007. Curlin also won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Exaggerator is a closer, so slow starts aren’t a lot to worry about with this colt, but the gap in the 20-horse field in the Kentucky Derby proved to be too much. With a lot less traffic in the Preakness, things could work out better. Rainy conditions are in the forecast for Friday night and Saturday, which could shift the odds in Exaggerator’s direction.
This doesn’t seem like a particularly strong field. Not many of these horses ran well or won events during the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby. Laoban and Cherry Wine both qualified for the Kentucky Derby, but neither ran in the race. Dale Romans opted for Brody’s Cause, the winner of the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and the Breeders’ Futurity, but Churchill Downs didn’t bring the same success. Cherry Wine will represent Romans this weekend. He was third in the Blue Glass Stakes. Laoban was fourth in that race.
We’ve saved the best for last here in this Preakness preview. It seems like Nyquist should be the 36th horse to enter the Belmont Stakes with a chance at a Triple Crown. Twelve horses have finished off the trifecta. Twenty-three have not. Nyquist is undefeated in his professional racing career at 8-0. He’s the first undefeated horse to win the Kentucky Derby since Big Brown in 2008 and the last one to have won seven straight and then the Kentucky Derby since Majestic Prince in 1969. Big Brown and Majestic Prince also won the Preakness.
It truly seems like the Preakness will be a race for second, but we’ll see how things shake out.