1. Exaggerator – Finally he turns the tables on Nyquist! Basically got a ground saving trip in this one as he stayed glued to the rail for most of the way, and swung out four wide with his bold move to finish them off down the stretch. One big change this time was the fact that the horse put himself much closer to the pace than normal. This could prove to be a deadly weapon going forward as he was still able to make his devastating move like normal even though he was closer. Very deserving Preakness winner who has gotten really good at the right time.
2. Cherry Wine – Very predictably did what was expected of him. Dropped way back early, waited patiently, and picked up the pieces of a pace meltdown. Just was able to nose out the exhausted Nyqusit at the end to pick up second place and help out all the exacta players. Cherry Wine runs the same race every time, and when the pace is hot he’s always going to be a factor. Nice horse to have in your barn as he has shown a lot of class.
3. Nyquist – The mystery of the year so far…why was Nyquist ridden for speed out of the gate to engage in a fast early pace? The strategy made no sense, especially considering all the speed (and most of it cheap) that was signed to run in this race. Instead of stalking the speed much like he did in the Derby, Nyquist set the pace and it was blistering. He ran brave to finish third in this race as all the other speed horse spit the bit on the turn. I don’t discredit the horse for this loss. I discredit the strategy.
4. Stradivari – Consider me very interested in this horse moving forward. For a horse making his first stakes start and only his second start of the year, I felt like he ran very well. He didn’t get all that great of position and was a little hard to handle on the first turn, but on the final turn he made his move side by side with Exaggerator. Of course Exaggerator out ran him, but Stardivari hung in there pretty well. It would have been nice to see him pass Nyquist, but I think you’d have to call that a foundation building race for a colt that looks pretty talented.
5. Lani – Is there really anything to say or any explanation for this horse? He dropped what had to be 30 lengths off the lead, and did come running in the end to only finish about 5 lengths behind the winner. You simply cannot drop that far back and expect to win. I’m not sure if that was the strategy or if he just won’t do what the rider is asking of him. It also could be the fact that the horse just refuses to break from the gate. Either way he has provided us with lots of entertainment over the last few weeks, however he’s pretty much just a side show at this point.
6. Laoban – He did pretty much what I thought he would do as he split the field while basically running one paced all the way around the track. This horse really is decent, but he needs to find a spot where he can win and get some confidence.
7. Uncle Lino – Was directly involved in a brutal pace duel with Nyquist, and in the end could have been the reason Nyquist got beat in this one. It takes a classy horse to battle on the front end with a great horse like Nyquist, but Uncle Lino was vanned off after the race so it may have taken a major toll on him. Probably should be credited for hanging on and not completely quitting and finishing last.
8. Fellowship – Took back early on and never made a run at things down the stretch. Had the pace to run into, but failed to ever get going.
9. Awesome Speed – Got involved with the speed early on as he battled Nyquist and Uncle Lino pretty much from the start. Was ridden hard out of the gate to get the lead, but like most of the horses involved up front he faded when the real running began.
10. Collected – Was asked for speed out of the gate early on, but could not make the front. Ended up chasing the pace while also being hung very wide. Was empty down the lane when the real running began.
11. Abiding Star – He was used to being on the lead in previous races, but perhaps didn’t have the elite speed it took to be on the lead here. Broke well enough, but failed to get in the top flight of horses and had nothing left when they turned for home.