Nyquist's Triple Crown bid came to a halt during Saturday's 141st running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Exaggerator stymied Nyquist's push for history with a victory in the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans, as jockey Kent Desormeaux did a commendable job of navigating a sloppy, rain-soaked track to get to the winner's circle.
Below is an overview of the order of finish from the field of 11 horses in addition to the payouts for those who finished in the money, including Nyquist, who settled for third:
|2016 Preakness Stakes Results|
|1||5||Exaggerator||Kent Desormeaux||Keith Desormeaux||—|
|2||1||Cherry Wine||Corey Lanerie||Dale Romans||3 1/2|
|3||3||Nyquist||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O'Neill||3 1/2|
|4||11||Stradivari||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||4|
|5||6||Lani||Yutaka Take||Mikio Matsunaga||5|
|6||8||Laoban||Florent Geroux||Eric Guillot||12|
|7||2||Uncle Lino||Fernando Perez||Gary Sherlock||16 1/4|
|8||10||Fellowship||Jose Lezcano||Mark Casse||21 3/4|
|9||4||Awesome Speed||Jevian Toledo||Alan Goldberg||24 1/2|
|10||7||Collected||Javier Castellano||Bob Baffert||25 1/4|
|11||9||Abiding Star||J.D. Acosta||Ned Allard||39 3/4|
|2016 Preakness Stakes Payouts|
|$2.00 Exacta (5-1) $88.40||$1.00 Trifecta (5-1-3) $73.10||$1.00 Superfecta (5-1-3-11) $317.00|
Nyquist jockey Mario Gutierrez had won the 2012 Preakness aboard I'll Have Another, who was also trained by Doug O'Neill, so there was reason to believe in the tandem as 3-5 morning-line favorites, per the event's official website.
But it came down to Exaggerator's superior perseverance through difficult conditions over the course of 9 ½ furlongs.
NBC Sports provided a look at Saturday's action:
CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb summarized how Desormeaux outfoxed Gutierrez:
Uncle Lino and Nyquist fought for position in the beginning and set a blistering pace of 22.38 seconds in the first quarter-mile. Nyquist had never run in the mud, and his lack of experience showed as he couldn't power through the combination of a fast pace and arduous conditions.
USA Today's Dan Wolken was baffled as to why Gutierrez pushed his horse so hard:
Although Exaggerator was well off the initial pace, he recovered and positioned himself for a big run into the final stretch, showcasing immense stamina and an ability to finish strong.
Exaggerator claimed the Santa Anita Derby on a sloppy track by 6 ½ lengths and finished second in the Kentucky Derby. Those results suggested he had a legitimate shot to dash Nyquist's Triple Crown dreams.
As rare as the Triple Crown is to achieve, ESPN Stats & Info showed how special Exaggerator's run in Baltimore was:
Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form opined Nyquist broke too soon while outlining the lengthy history of Exaggerator falling short against him:
Desormeaux had won the Preakness twice before Saturday, more than any other jockey in the field, which gave him a huge advantage.
He also won the 2009 Belmont Stakes with Summer Bird and has two runner-up finishes and a third-place showing in Elmont, New York, on his resume as well.
Given his aforementioned romp at Santa Anita Park and his Preakness performance, Exaggerator will be a threat at Belmont Park, provided he can handle the quick turnaround as well as he did at Pimlico.
Melissa Hoppert of the New York Times was hoping Nyquist would still start in the Belmont so he could try to exact vengeance on Exaggerator for spoiling the Triple Crown:
The Belmont Stakes will lose significance now that a Triple Crown champion is no longer a possibility, though.
With a 1 ½-mile test coming up at Belmont Park and only three weeks of rest, the final leg of the Triple Crown earns its moniker of the "Test of the Champion." Uncommon endurance and stamina are required, along with a savvy jockey who can make a move at the best time during the lengthy trip.
It's worth tuning in June 11 to witness master riders at work as they seek to make history in one of the most demanding tests in horse racing.
Exaggerator's rider was in disbelief and implied he couldn't have done a much better job en route to a rousing Preakness triumph.
Desormeaux also spoke about how his team bested Nyquist, per GQ's David Hill: "These turns you want to paint the fence. We did; they didn't. Not for nothing but knowledge is power."
Those tactics didn't necessarily sit well with the jockey's brother and trainer, Keith, who said, per Blood-Horse.com's Jeremy Balan, "I wanted to strangle [Kent] when he went to the rail."
Keith Desormeaux said of Exaggerator's Belmont Stakes outlook, "I'll be there with bells on."
O'Neill also spoke about the Preakness and hinted his horse would finish the Triple Crown season despite his first career defeat.