The Preakness Stakes is set for Saturday at Pimlico in Baltimore, and let’s be honest: it’s hard to see Nyquist losing. The Kentucky Derby was the colt’s eighth straight win, and he’s the odds-on favorite to make it nine in a row this weekend.
Nyquist’s toughest competitor figures to be Exaggerator, who came in second in the Derby and has lost to Nyquist four times already. If you’re looking for a reason to back Exaggerator in the Preakness, Nyquist’s margin of victory over him has decreased each time they’ve raced each other. Exaggerator is listed at 3-to-1 morning-line odds.
Lani also gets another shot at Nyquist after finishing 10 lengths behind him in ninth place at Louisville two weeks ago.
None of the other eight horses in the 11-horse Preakness field started in the Kentucky Derby. These “new shooters” don’t typically fare well in the Preakness, and there’s a very obvious explanation for that – if they were any good, they would have qualified for the 20-horse Derby field.
So what’s a bettor to do with Saturday’s main event? Should this race go as expected – another Nyquist/Exaggerator 1-2 finish – there’s not a lot of money to be made here.
Well, you can try to find some bombs for your trifectas and superfectas. Apologies for the redundancy, but you really can’t leave the two favorites out of your exotics.
There’s also some love for No. 11 Stradivari among the handicappers on the interwebs, the lightly-raced third favorite at morning-line odds of 10/1. This colt has won his last two races (of the three in his career) by 11 and 14 lengths.
Preakness picks for exotic wagers
We’re throwing Cherry Wine, Collected and Abiding Star into our exotic wagers.
Cherry Wine, the No. 1 horse, has closing ability, which bodes well in race with lots of speed. Also, it’s going to rain in Baltimore on Saturday, and in this colt’s only outing on a wet surface, he romped to a nine-length victory.
Collected is trained by Bob Baffert, who has six Preakness wins but hasn’t done well in this race with new shooters. Per the Daily Racing Form, the best Preakness finish for a Baffert-trainee who hasn’t run in the Derby was fifth by Senor Swinger in 2003. Still, we can see this in-form colt getting a piece of the action on Saturday.
And why not take a shot with 30-to-1 Abiding Star, winner of five in row and another one who seems to have a liking for off-tracks?
2016 Preakness post positions, odds, jockeys and trainers
PP. Horse (weight) jockey/trainer odds
1. Cherry Wine (126) Lanerie/Romans 20-1
2. Uncle Lino (126) Perez/Sherlock 30-1
3. Nyquist (126) Gutierrez/O’Neill 3-5
4. Awesome Speed (126) Toledo/Goldberg 30-1
5. Exaggerator (126) Desormeaux/Desormeaux 3-1
6. Lani (126) Take/Matsunaga 30-1
7. Collected (126) Castellano/Baffert 12-1
8. Laoban (126) Geroux/Guillot 30-1
9. Abiding Star (126) Acosta/Allard 30-1
10. Fellowship (126) Lezcano/Casse 30-1
11. Stradivari (126) Velazquez/Pletcher 10-1