New Shooters Pose Biggest Challenge to Nyquist in Preakness

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D.S. Williamson

May 12th, 2016

Nyquist pummeled his competition so badly in the Kentucky Derby on May 7 that precious few of those who ran against him want any part of him at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes on May 21. Exaggerator and Suddenbreakingnews, the second and fifth place finishers in Louisville, are both likely to enter the race. Exaggerator always has a shot. But if he couldn't run down Nyquist after a :45 and change half-mile at 1 1/4 miles, how is he going to run down Nyquist at Pimlico at what should be a slower half-mile pace and at a shorter distance of 1 3/16?

I think that if you're looking to beat Nyquist, you have to pick a new shooter. But you just can't pick any new shooter. The new shooter has to have some oomph in his feet. I just don't see any of the closers, like Cherry Wine as an example, making up ground on the Kentucky Derby Champion at Pimlico. See below for 5 horses that should be close to Nyquist in the early going on May 21.

Stradivari - Check out this guy's win in a 1 1/8 mile allowance race at Keeneland on April 17. It was Race 2 that day. I couldn't find a picture of him that I could use for this blog. So, I posted a picture of his namesake, the brilliant Antonio Stradivari.

Once you see his win on April 17, it's going to be hard to deny that he doesn't have the talent to challenge Nyquist in the Preaknes Stakes. He was sired by Medaglia d'Oro and is trained by Todd Pletcher. He broke his maiden  in December and won the allowance in April by a combined 25 lengths. This colt has a ton of upside, which is what a horse needs in order to beat Nyquist.  
Collected - This Bob Baffert trainee looked great winning the Lexington Stakes on April 16. Baffert has won the Preakness Stakes 6 times. The positive is that Collected appears capable of being stronger in the Preakness than he was in the Lexington. The negative is that he's going to have to be much stronger to have any shot versus Nyquist on May 21. By ever measure, he hasn't run nearly as fast as either Nyquist or Stradivari have run in their careers. I expect Collected to be at the top of his game in the Preakness Stakes. I'm not sure if he'll be good enough. 
Uncle Lino - I love his win in the California Chrome stakes in his last. He fought Rare Candy to the wire. It was a terrific win for Uncle Lino who didn't have to face Mor Spirit, Exaggerator, Nyquist or Danzing Candy in the CC Stakes. But, will the gutty win translate into something more than front running speed on May 21? Uncle Lino has no business winning the Preakness Stakes. I get that. But he's the horse that dueled with Danzing Candy and held on for third, almost holding off Mor Spirit for second, in the Santa Anita Derby. Sure, the California Chrome Stakes was at Los Alamitos, but that doesn't mean that he didn't run fast. I think that Uncle Lino is going to be much tougher for Nyquist to run down in the Preakness Stakes than Danzing Candy was to run down in the Kentucky Derby.
Dazzling Gem - This Brad Cox trainee's 4th place finish in the Arkansas Derby gave no clues that he's ready to battle Nyquist and Exaggerator in the Preakness Stakes. He's been training okay since the Arkansas Derby. Plus, Cox is a terrific, underrated horseman, but he's going to have to get much faster to challenge Uncle Lino, much less hold off horses like Nyquist and Stradivari.
Laoban - I can write about Laoban what I wrote about Dazzling Gem. Loaban is going to have to run much faster than he did in the Bluegrass Stakes where he finished 4th. He could set some things up for Nyquist and Stradivari, both of whom have the ability to rate, if he goes right after Uncle Lino early on in the race. I'm not sure he can either out run Uncle Lino or hold off Nyquist and Stradivari in the stretch.


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