Preakness Field Is Set For Saturday At Pimlico

Reddam Racing’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Nyquist drew post 3 and was tabbed as the 3-5 morning-line favorite May 18 for the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course.

Although Doug O’Neill said “in an ideal world, we wanted to be outside anyone who had speed,” the trainer said drawing relatively inside in the 11-horse field would be fine for Nyquist.

Nyquist, who won the Kentucky Derby, drew post 3 in Saturday's Preakness
Nyquist, who won the Kentucky Derby, drew post 3 in Saturday’s Preakness

“I probably shouldn’t answer this, because (Mario Gutierrez) is riding, but I don’t think it (matters in an 11-horse field),” O’Neill said. “Like every race, we need a good, clean trip and we’ve got to be lucky. … We’re very optimistic. We’re going to break good, get good position, and be OK.”

As far as the pace scenario goes, O’Neill will rely on Gutierrez’s instincts and Nyquist’s versatility.

“Mario is such a great rider,” O’Neill said. “He’ll know the pace. If they’re flying, we’ll sit off. If they’re not flying, we’ll set it.”

The Uncle Mo   colt’s 1 1/4-length victory in the Derby garnered him clear favoritism, while Exaggerator, the runner-up May 7 at Churchill Downs, is the second choice at 3-1 and drew post 5.

“One word—inconsequential,” trainer Keith Desormeaux said of Exaggerator’s draw. “For Exaggerator, who comes off the pace, why do we need to worry about what position we are? His style is not dependant on speed and we have this huge run-up to this first turn. There’s just no doubt (jockey) Kent (Desormeaux) will have the position he wants. He’ll either be five lengths or 15 off, but he’ll be off the pace.”

Impressive Keeneland allowance winner Stradivari is listed as the 8-1 third choice and will depart from the far outside in post 11 Saturday for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Every other entrant was assigned double-digit odds. Bob Baffert-trained Collected (post 7) heads the group of longshots at 10-1, followed by Uncle Lino (post 2) and Cherry Wine (post 1) at 20-1, and Abiding Star (post 9), Awesome Speed (post 4), Fellowship (post 10), Lani (post 6), and Laoban (post 8) all at 30-1.

Preakness Stakes (gr. I)
Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Cherry Wine Corey Lanerie Dale Romans 20-1
2 Uncle Lino Fernando Perez Gary Sherlock 20-1
3 Nyquist Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 3-5
4 Awesome Speed Jevian Toledo Alan Goldberg 30-1
5 Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux Keith Desormeaux 3-1
6 Lani Yutaka Take Mikio Matsunaga 30-1
7 Collected Javier Castellano Bob Baffert 10-1
8 Laoban Florent Geroux Eric Guillot 30-1
9 Abiding Star J.D. Acosta Ned Allar 30-1
10 Fellowship Jose Lezcano Mark Casse 30-1
11 Stradivari John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 8-1