Preakness Stakes Will Have Few Kentucky Derby Runners

Posted on: May 08, 2016

The Preakness Stakes is scheduled for May 21 at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Track. It’s the second leg of the Triple Crown but so far there are few Kentucky Derby runners committed to the race. In fact, there are only two–the top two finishers in the Kentucky Derby aka Nyquist and Exaggerator. Although some connections of Kentucky Derby runners are saying that their plans for the next race are still ‘to be determined’ it is doubtful that these two horses will have much in the way of company from Saturday’s field.

Exaggerator’s trainer, Keith Desormeaux, has already said that he’ll push on to Pimlico. Nyquist is becoming something of a ‘white whale’ for Desormeaux–he’s run second to the Kentucky Derby champion in six of his eight career starts including three times with Exaggerator. And, of course, the Kentucky Derby champ will be in the Preakness Field. According to Doug O’Neill’s top assistant, Leandro Mora, Nyquist was in good form and had finished off a tub full of food on Sunday morning.

So far that’s the only two horses from the Kentucky Derby field that have committed to the Preakness. Trainers have a variety of reasons for not wanting to enter the race but the reality is that few want a piece of Nyquist again. Nyquist simply dominated the field in the Kentucky Derby, turning in a career best 103 Beyer Speed Figure in the process. Steve Asmussen, trainer of third place Gun Runner and also ran Creator, gave candid response that he doesn’t want any part of Nyquist in the immediate future: “You look at that resume and think, why argue?”

Here’s what some of the other Derby runners are up to: Kiaran McLaughlin, won’t run fourth place finisher Mohaymen in the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes. Instead, he’ll be pointed toward the Travers Stakes this summer at Saratoga. Bob Baffert will run three time stakes winner Collected–most recently victorious in the Lexington at Keeneland–. but won’t run Mor Spirit. Todd Pletcher said that plans for Destin (6th place in the Kentucky Derby) and Outwork (14th) were ‘TBA’ and wouldn’t be decided until the horses return to New York this week. There’s nothing to suggest that either will be pointed toward the Preakness. Pletcher will have a horse in the field, however, as he’s entering recent Keeneland Allowance winner Stradivari in the field. Two other horses that didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby are already being pointed to the Preakness. Awesome Speed earned an automatic berth with his win in the Tesio Stakes at Maryland’s Laurel Race Track last month. Uncle Lino won the California Chrome Stakes at Los Alamitos and is headed for Baltimore.