BALTIMORE, May 21 (UPI) -- Exaggerator upset Nyquist in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, handing the Kentucky Derby winner his first defeat and denying him a chance to win the Triple Crown.
Exaggerator, with Kent Desormeaux up, stayed much closer to the pace in the Preakness than in his previous four tries against Nyquist, who was out on a very fast early pace over a sloppy track.
By the time the field hit the stretch turn, Nyquist, the 3-5 favorite, was laboring and Exaggerator "just slid up the fence," Desormeaux said. He then urged Exaggerator past Nyquist without much resistance and went on to win by 3 1/2 lengths. In the final sixteenth of a mile, Cherry Wine snuck past Nyquist to take second.
Exaggerator ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:58.31.
Exaggerator won the Santa Anita Derby in the slop last month but finished second to Nyquist at Churchill Downs with a late move from far back in the big field. In the Preakness, Desormeaux said the key was staying closer and saving ground.
"These turns," he said, "you want to take the fence. We did and they didn't. Knowledge is power."
Desormeaux and his brother, Keith, who trains Exaggerator, cut their professional teeth on Maryland racing and know the circuit well. Standing in the presentation ceremony on the infield cupola after the race, Kent Desormeaux added, "This is my favorite place in Maryland. On the Cupola, next to the Woodlawn Vase." The Vase is the Preakness trophy.
Keith Desormeaux said the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes on June 11, is on his agenda.
"I'll be there with bells on," said the trainer, whose colt, a son of Curlin, now has five wins from 11 career starts.
Exaggerator finished behind Nyquist in the career debut for both, then trailed Nyquist again in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the San Vicente at Santa Anita and the Run for the Roses.
After the Derby, his trainer said, "My philosophy was to take it as easy as possible," since Exaggerator recovered quickly from that effort.
Nyquist's trainer, Doug O'Neill, said, "I didn't think we'd get beat, to tell you the truth." He said he would "huddle up" with owner J. Paul Reddam but, if all is well, "maybe we'll try again" in the Belmont.
Two horses died ahead of the Preakness Stakes main event, and a jockey broke a collarbone after being thrown in a fall on the muddy course.
Pramedya broke down around the turn in Pimlico's fourth race, tumbling to the ground. Jockey Daniel Centeno was thrown to the turf. After breaking her cannon bone in her front left leg, Pimlico racing officials said the 4-year-old filly was euthanized on the track. Centeno was driven off in ambulance. Officials said he broke his right collarbone.
In the opening race of the day, Homeboykris collapsed and died after winning and having his picture taken in the winner's circle. Track officials believe the 9-year-old gelding suffered cardiovascular collapse. The horse will be taken to New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania for an autopsy.