O'Neill on Nyquist's post 3 in Preakness: 'we're going to leave there running'
Edited Preakness press release
Draw quotes, in order of morning-line odds
Trainer Doug O’Neill (Nyquist, Post 3; 3-5): “I think we're going to leave there running and just kind of play it by ear. If they're not showing a lot of pace, we're going to make it. If it's hot and heavy, (jockey) Mario (Gutierrez) has shown and Nyquist has shown that they can sit off a hot and heavy pace.
“It's numbing. I think for all of the team, it's just living a dream to be 3-5. To be 8-for-8 going into the Preakness, to be 3-5, it's such an honor and such a privilege.”
Trainer Keith Desormeaux (Exaggerator, Post 5; 3-1): “It doesn’t matter. With our (closing) running style it’s inconsequential. He’s going to take back or get him to relax right out of the gate, so it really doesn’t matter - 1 hole, 11 hole, 5 hole.
“Being that Nyquist is speed-oriented, he’ll probably get pressed from the outside, which may make him go a little bit faster. I guess that’s tactically advantageous to us.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher (Stradivari, Post 11; 8-1): “You’ve got a good run to the turn so you never feel like anyone’s as concerned with the post positions at the Preakness as they are at the Derby, especially when there doesn’t appear to be one like the dreaded 1 post at Churchill. I’m happy with it. He’s generally a good gate horse and that gives (jockey) Johnny (Velazquez) the ability to break and survey things inside and see where he wants to hopefully position him going into the first turn.
“The good thing is you can kind of dictate things instead of them being dictated to you when you’re on the outside like that. I don’t think it’ll change anything. I think the most interesting thing is going to be how the track is playing and what the track conditions are like with the forecasted rain.
“I kind of felt like it would be between us and Collected for third choice. I’m not surprised. He’s got a small body of work but his last two races, in particular his last race at Keeneland, were visually very impressive performances.”
Trainer Bob Baffert (Collected, Post 7; 10-1): “It’s a good post. If you have a speed horse, it’s a good post. The break is going to be so important, especially if it’s muddy.”
Trainer Dale Romans (Cherry Wine, Post 1: 20-1): “My jockey, Corey Lanerie, loves to come up the fence. It’s a good spot with him riding the horse. He never panics; he stays down in there just like I like.”
Trainer Gary Sherlock (Uncle Lino, Post 2; 20-1): “I would have rather been outside of Nyquist, but it is what it is. Being inside, he’s (Uncle Lino) probably going to go to the front now. If he’d drawn outside we’d have had a few more choices. At least we didn’t get the 1.”
Trainer Ned Allard (Abiding Star, Post 9; 30-1): “I think it’s just fine. You can see what’s happening inside of you. I think it’s a good place to get away from with a long stretch to start off the race and see where you’re at. Is he quick enough to control the pace? I don’t know.”
Trainer Eric Guillot (Laoban, Post 8: 30-1): “I think we drew awesome. I mean all the speed’s inside of me except for (trainer Todd) Pletcher’s horse (Stradivari). I couldn’t ask for much better. Looks like all the stars aligned and the ones that ain’t I’m going to knock them in the head and make them align. Uncle Lino’s speed; Nyquist’s speed; Awesome Speed’s speed; and Collected’s speed. I’ll be stalking.
Trainer Mikio Matsunaga (Lani, Post 6; 30-1), through an interpreter: “I wanted an outside draw, so I am pretty much satisfied with the position.”
Jockey Jevian Toledo (Awesome Speed, Post 4: 30-1): “I think it’s a good position between some nice horses (Nyquist and Exaggerator). I didn’t want the 1 or the 2 hole, so I’m pretty happy.”
Assistant trainer Norm Casse (Fellowship, Post 10; 30-1): “We've already come in with the idea that we're just going to let the horse fall out of the gate and let him settle wherever he is. So it really didn't matter what the post position was. I actually like being drawn outside a little bit. But there's plenty of time to get over. He'll be in the second or third flight, and it really didn't matter.”
Photo by Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com