For the second year in a row rain fell at Pimilco Race Course, but that didn’t stop Exaggerator, as well as jockey Kent Desormeaux, from closing out a near perfect race.
Exaggerator took home the 141st Preakness Stakes on Saturday afternoon with Cherry Wine finishing second and Nyquist placing third; it was Nyquist’s first loss after starting out 8-0. Exaggerator had lost to Nyquist four times prior to Saturday, most recently the Kentucky Derby on May 7.
Nyquist and Uncle Lino got off to good starts in a fast opening quarter. Nyquist enjoyed a good half-mile or so up front with Exaggerator riding the rail. Exaggerator was perfect down the stretch, Nyquist attempting to shift lanes in order to make a move past, but to no avail.
Last year, American Pharoah took home the Triple Crown without much competition. Exaggerator put the end to all the hype surrounding Nyquist, who was looking to duplicate the same feat. Nyquist closed the race as the odds-on favorite at 3/5, while Exaggarator–as well as Stradivari–closed at 3/1.
The muddy course was a looming hurdle for Nyquist.
“With a horse like Nyquist, I’m not overly concerned about the weather,” trainer Doug O’Neill told The Christian Science Monitor on a bright, sunny Friday morning. “As far as rain or shine, we’re not going to change anything shoeing-wise. He’s going to wear the same shoes he’s got on. We’d just love to have a beautiful day.”
O’Neill didn’t get his wish as 134,000 people in attendance who were drenched in rain also got to witness an upset at Pimilco Race Course.