Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Big favorite Nyquist gets desired Preakness post

BALTIMORE — Doug O'Neill couldn't have done better if he had picked Nyquist's post position himself.

After Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist landed the No. 3 post for the Preakness in a blind draw Wednesday, O'Neill looked like a man with a winning lottery ticket.

"The 3 is exactly what I wanted," O'Neill said. "We're very optimistic that we're going to break good and get into position."

Unbeaten in eight races, Nyquist was made the overwhelming 3-5 favorite among 11 horses in Saturday's race.

His selection as the best horse in the field was justified, said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who will saddle Collected, who didn't race in the Derby on May 7.

"I'd probably be surprised if (Nyquist) didn't win," Baffert said. "He's going to be tough to beat."

Starting from the 13th post position in the Derby, Nyquist won the 20-horse race by 11/4 lengths over Exaggerator. Nyquist can expect far less traffic against a smaller field at the Preakness, which covers 13/16 miles at Pimlico Race Course.

"He's a very mature horse that has speed away from the gate," O'Neill said. "And he doesn't like to lose."

O'Neill enters the Preakness seeking to keep alive his hopes of becoming the second straight Triple Crown winner. A year ago, American Pharoah became the 12th Triple Crown winner and the first since Affirmed in 1978.

Exaggerator has the best odds behind Nyquist at 3-1, as selected by Pimlico handicapper Keith Feustle. The horse, trained by Keith Desormeaux, drew the fifth post position.

"Being that Nyquist is speed oriented, he'll probably get pressed from the outside," Desormeaux said. "It may make him go a little faster. That could be tactically advantageous for us."

Exaggerator has finished behind Nyquist four times. Desormeaux said he doesn't want his jockey brother, Kent Desormeaux, to change tactics from the Derby. He simply wants Exaggerator to find a comfortable groove and run as close to the lead as the Hall of Fame jockey sees fit.

Japanese import Lani is the only other holdover from the Derby, where he finished ninth after struggling to compose himself in the paddock before the race. He'll start from the sixth post at 30-1.

From there, the field consists of fresh competitors looking to pull a startling upset.

Stradivari, at 8-1, was the third choice. He has the No. 11 post and is trained by Todd Pletcher, who runs horses at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar and who is making his first Preakness appearance since 2011 with lightly raced Stradivari.

"We think he's a very good horse," Pletcher said Tuesday. "It's ambitious, but we think he deserves a chance. It might be that with only three lifetime starts, he's not quite ready for this big a jump, but we think it's worth a try, as long as he shows up and runs well, comes out of it well and continues to move forward."

O'Neill said Stradivari is the fresh horse that scares him, because of his win at Keeneland in April and because Pletcher is always a formidable competitor.

Baffert is looking for his seventh Preakness victory after last year's Triple Crown run with American Pharoah. Collected will start from the No. 7 post as a 10-1 choice in the morning line.

"This is like, take a shot here," Baffert said Wednesday morning. "We won't see any Belmont, nothing like that. It's a one-shot deal, so let's see what he does."

Big favorite Nyquist gets desired Preakness post 05/18/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 9:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brad Miller (13) gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after his solo home run in the fourth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    Looks like LF Corey Dickerson is coming out of his funk at the plate — .186 average in past 16 games entering Friday. He had two hits Wednesday in Oakland and three hits Friday against the Rangers. Okay, one was an infield hit that bounced high in front of the plate, but the other was a long home run to …

  5. History shows Ole Miss upheaval tough to overcome

    College

    After Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, with the opener six weeks away, offensive line coach Matt Luke is being thrown into an interim head coaching position. He will try to save a season that already had been scarred by a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

    After coach Jim Tressel resigned, Ohio State went 6-7, including a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, in 2011.