Two weeks ago I went with value instead of form and selected Mor Spirit over Nyquist. This added to my Kentucky Derby drought as Smarty Jones still remains my last Kentucky Derby Winner! Nyquist proved to all of his detractors that he could get the distance, which was one of the same arguments many people made against American Pharoah last year.
We are all in luck this year. My Preakness slump ended last year when I jumped on the American Pharoah band wagon and after looking at the field for this year and the replay of the Kentucky Derby for about the umpteenth time, I find no reason to go against Nyquist.
My pace analysis is posted at US Racing and I will also discuss the pace on my youtube channel so I am not going to rehash the entire pace here again.
3 Nyquist (3-5) – I have no knocks on this horse. In the Kentucky Derby he faced a faster than anticipated early pace and responded showing a ton of patience as Danzing Candy went out firing on all cylinders posting a half mile time of 45.3 seconds. This horse has the most tactical speed in the field and will handle whatever fractions are thrown at him. As with most Preakness fields, there are several well-meant allowance horses here so Nyquist has quite a class advantage here as well.
11 Stradivari (8-1) – Lightly raced Pletcher trainee and despite Pletcher’s inability to hit the board in the Preakness with his seven career starters, this newcomer looks to be a live runner. The pace should help him here since he has shown the ability to sit back a little early and fire late. Yet, he hasn’t been tested late in either of his wins so it will be interesting to see how he handles the latter stages of this race when Nyquist digs in.
5 Exaggerator (5-1) – That late run in the Kentucky Derby was no fluke, however he hasn’t caught Nyquist in four tries. Arguably the best late runner in this field, but again falls short here.
1 Cherry Wine (20-1) – This horse has shown a strong late run in both the Rebel and Blue Grass. Since there is so much weak early speed here, I expect him to make another big move here despite falling well short of Nyquist.
Potential for Value: Low
So what may I potential play in a race where the 3-5 favorite is likely to dominate?
Small Exacta 3 / 1, 5, 11
Small Trifecta 3 / 1, 5, 11 / 1, 5, 7, 10, 11
Small Superfecta 3 / 1, 5, 11 / 1, 5, 7, 10, 11 / 1, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11
I don’t think the wet weather affects the field here that greatly. Should there be a couple of scratches, I think quartet of early speed horses (Abiding Star, Awesome Speed, Laoban, and Uncle Lino) will all fail under pressure anyway – either from each other or from Nyquist and Stradivari.
Grab yourself a black-eyed susan and enjoy the race!