Exaggerator wins Preakness; Nyquist third

By Todd Karpovich, The Sports Xchange  |  May 22, 2016 at 12:47 AM
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BALTIMORE -- Jockey Kent Desormeaux called it a "dream trip" aboard Exaggerator just moments after upsetting Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist on a sloppy track at the 141st Preakness on Saturday.

The victory was especially sweet after Exaggerator had lost to Nyquist in their previous four meetings. This time, Exaggerator took advantage of the wet conditions at Pimlico and sprinted past Cherry Wine and Nyquist in the final stretch to ensure that there will be no Triple Crown winner this year.

"I can't even fathom," Desormeaux said. "It's going to take awhile. I'm in shock right now. I think Nyquist had company all the way around the race course."

Desormeaux stayed tight on the fence and was able to strategically navigate the turns on the slippery track. It paid off as he made his decisive move at the top of the stretch to escape with a winning time of 1:58.31.

Cherry Wine took second and the Doug O'Neill-trained Nyquist, who was the 3-5 favorite, finished third in the 11-horse field. It was the first time in three years the Kentucky Derby winner did not win the Preakness.

"We had a smooth trip," Cherry Wine jockey Corey Lanerie said. "We broke in and had absolutely no speed. They rode around and let them come to us and he started to show his kick in the middle of the turn at the three-eighths pole. We did not encounter any trouble. We had pretty clear sailing. This one feels good."

Nyquist appeared to tire in the final stretch of the race. He had been undefeated in eight starts.

"Hats off to Exaggerator and Team Desormeaux," O'Neill said. "What a great run. I didn't think we could be beat, to be honest with you. Nyquist is such an amazing horse. He still ran a great race. We'll figure this all out, watch some replays."

The horses could meet again in the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, N.Y., the third race in horse racing's Triple Crown, which is scheduled to be run June 11.

Exaggerator trainer Keith Desormeaux confirmed after the race that his horse will compete at Belmont.

It was another solid victory for Exaggerator on the wet track. He also won the Santa Anita Derby in similar conditions.

Exaggerator, who is the 3-year-old son of former Horse of the Year Curlin, had finished second to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby.

"I hope it's not only because of the muddy track," Keith Desormeaux said. "The horse has been training phenomenally. I think there was a conscious decision on the training approach to between the Derby and here. My philosophy was to take it a easy as possible because you're not going to gain any fitness in those two weeks. I did what I could to get him happy and fresh and strong."

Despite the rainy, cold conditions, a crowd of 135,256 attended the race, shattering last year's record of 131,680.

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