Preakness Stakes Analysis

The Preakness is this weekend, and it’s no secret that the big favorite is the Kentucky Derby Champ, Nyquist. The early odds on Nyquist are not great if you’re looking to bet on him at 3-5, but that actually makes for a great opportunity to put your money in other places. If you’re looking for another horse, here is what you need to know.

First, do know that Nyquist is the favorite for a reason. He won the Kentucky Derby with a great home stretch finish, which is saying a lot considering it was the longest race of his life. The Preakness is a half furlong shorter than the Derby, and thanks to the fact that he has excellent speed figures, the ball is still in his court. Plus, Nyquist has post position number three, which is a strong position as long as he gets of the gate well. This has never been a problem before for him, which is a decent sign.

Exaggerator is the number two pick here according to the morning line at 3-1. We like Exaggerator a lot, but think he’s more of a threat at Belmont than he is here thanks to the longer distance. He also has great speed figures, but his late bursts of energy are more fitting for a longer race, and this is not that. Still, Exaggerator is a good pick for filling out exactas and trifectas, if you are betting on the exotics. He’s in post position number five, which plays well to his strengths.

That leaves a new horse as a threat for the win. Nyquist and Exaggerator both have posted best Beyer speed figures of 103, and the only other horse in the field at or above 100 is Stradivari with a 100. Stradivari also has the advantage of having the great Todd Pletcher as his trainer and John Velazquez as his jockey. He doesn’t have the same big race experience as the other two horses here, and while that might hurt, we see it as a good thing. An experienced jockey on a fresh horse can do a lot of damage, especially as Nyquist and Exaggerator are going to be a bit more tired than normal because of racing at the Kentucky Derby just two weeks ago. Stradivari’s morning line of 8-1 is attractive enough that it could be considered a long shot, but realistic enough that he is being taken seriously by the analysts. The only thing we don’t like about him is that he’s in the most outside post position at 11. Early speed should compensate for this and prevent him from a long trip on the outside, but there’s no way to tell for certain because he’s so inexperienced. We like him, and if anyone is going beat Nyquist, we think it’s Stradivari.

Whoever wins the 2016 Preakness Stakes, it is guaranteed to be a great race. Saturday promises to be an exciting day at Pimlico. If you aren’t in the Baltimore Area this weekend, you can catch the action online at Twinspires. The race will also be televised nationally.