A 2-1 favorite heading into the 142nd Kentucky Derby, Nyquist finished strong and held off Exaggerator to win by a length and become the fourth straight Kentucky Derby favorite to live up to the hype.
The undefeated champion now looks ahead to the 2016 Preakness Stakes, where he will begin to answer the inevitable: can he give us our second Triple Crown winner in as many years?
It’s possible, but we need to take this one race at a time. Nyquist certainly met and maybe even exceeded expectations on Saturday, and with no blemishes on the 3-year old’s record, there isn’t much reason to doubt the possibility of another historic run.
There is history on Nyquist’s side, too, as jockey ___ won his second Kentucky Derby in as many tries and just a few years ago had a chance at taking down the whole Triple Crown, if it hadn’t been for an injury to his horse.
Of course, before we can get too excited, we need to consider a revamped field. Nyquist’s challengers will include 13 driven colts, giving a full 14-horse pool at the 2016 Preakness Stakes.
It’s still open for debate as to which horses deserve to get in, which will garner heavy consideration and what the ultimate lineup will be. We already know that sleeper contender Mohaymen will sit the next race out, while Exaggerator would probably love the chance to finally take down Nyquist (0-4 in four meetings).
Horse racing fans have time to re-think their next bet, as this year’s Preakness Stakes won’t go down until May 21st at Pimlico.
Preakness Stakes odds will be a little more concrete over the next week or so as the field gets closer to being finalized, but fans willing to bet on Nyquist can start deciding right now just how far this horse can take things.
Bovada allows for fans to look ahead to the entire Triple Crown, asking whether or not Nyquist can take it down. Fans can bet on it happening (Yes – 9/4 odds) or take the field (No – 2/7 odds). Bettors can do the same for Nyquist at the next two races, assuming the colt hits the track for both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Regardless of how you bet, consider this: it’s going to be a lot more difficult for Nyquist to finish off the sweep in the Belmont Stakes than it would be to win the Preakness Stakes as the favorite again. The reality is some of the competition could easily die down with several owners and trainers opting to rest up some of the best horses for the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Nyquist is well rested and fairly lightly trained, but by the time the Belmont Stakes rolls around, he could be too tired and facing another stiff field like he did to start things off at the Kentucky Derby.
Then again, it may not matter and destiny may be slow-playing yet another champion for us. Only time will tell.
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