Preakness 2016: It’s Exaggerator

Exaggerator took out his revenge on Nyquist Saturday, decisively defeating the previously unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner in a sloppy Preakness Stakes.

The mud was everywhere as the horses broke from the starting gate, and Nyquist set way too fast of a pace with Uncle Lino chasing him all the way down the backstretch. This time, Exaggerator didn’t wait to close, sneaking up on the rail to fifth place and stalking Nyquist and Uncle Lino as they went through the opening quarter in a blistering 22 1/5 seconds.

The pace settled a bit, but the damage was done. By the far turn, Exaggerator swung to the outside and challenged a tiring Uncle Lino and Nyquist. Nyquist tried to hang with Exaggerator for a few hundred yards, but Exaggerator, who loves the mud, kicked it up another gear and ran going away, a 3 1/4-length winner over fast-closing Cherry Wine. Nyquist was third.

And so ends the hopes for a second consecutive Triple Crown. Nyquist seemed like a shoe-in with the shorter distance and his inside position, but Exaggerator showed that he is a top-quality horse that, given a quicker move in the Derby, could be headed for his own Triple Crown in three weeks. Instead, it will be the rubber match between Nyquist and Exaggerator, with the winner being the favorite to win Horse of the Year.

Peter Lee

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