2016 Preakness Cheat Sheet
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
2016 Preakness Replay
Did you watch the Kentucky Derby? Of course you did. Did you feel unprepared? We tried to help! Here it is two weeks later and you’re still in the same boat. Well, fret not, we’re here for you… again! Although we strongly suggest that you sign up for our Derby Prep Alert so you’re not so unprepared next year.
Here’s a little something about the 2016 Preakness field by post position. Be sure to check out our 2016 Kentucky Derby Cheat Sheet for more back story on the starters coming from the Derby.
Here’s a thumbnail sketch of this year’s field by post position including the morning line odds.
1. Cherry Wine (20-1) – PLACE (2nd) – Last out in the Grade 1 Blue Grass, this allowance winner ran a closing 3rd behind My Man Sam and winner Brody’s Cause. Given their Derby performances (11th and 7th respectively), the Blue Grass may not be a ringing endorsement for his chances to move forward while stepping up in class. He’s won on a wet track and appears to have a decent turn of foot, so if he does move forward he could get up for a piece of the action.
2. Uncle Lino (20-1) – After running 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the California Derby preps he finally had his shining stakes moment when he took the California Chrome Stakes field wire-to-wire last out. While he does have an ideal post for getting a jump on the other speed in the field, a repeat performance seems unlikely. But, if things don’t go well for Nyquist and Exaggerator, he’s one who could end up doing well.
3. Nyquist (3-5) – SHOW (3rd) – The undefeated Kentucky Derby winner had a relatively easy trip in a field of terrible trips, but was dazzling in victory nonetheless. Given his light prep schedule he’s a relatively fresh horse compared to many others in the field. With plenty of speed in the field he seems primed for another great pace scenario where he can stalk and pounce. Once again, he’s the horse to beat.
4. Awesome Speed (30-1) – The winner of the Mucho Macho Man was placed 1st last out after a disqualification of the winner in the Federico Tesio. The horse that ran 1st, Malibu Governor, followed up that effort with a credible 2nd behind the well-regarded Unified in the Grade 2 Peter Pan. While Awesome Speed is likely to be a part of the pace scenario, he also appears to be a cut below the rest of the field.
5. Exaggerator (3-1) – WINNER – With a cleaner trip, the Kentucky Derby runner-up could have at least finished closer than a length and a quarter behind winner Nyquist, and maybe even beat him. Lucky for him that the current Preakness forecast calls for rain given that his best performances outside of the Derby have come over wet tracks. Rain or no, he’s Nyquist’s biggest obstacle, especially if he sits a little closer and isn’t left with as much to do late.
6. Lani (30-1) – It’s rather astonishing that the U.A.E. Derby winner is no less a mystery than he was prior to the Kentucky Derby where he finished 9th. He had some momentum around the half-mile mark but “he needed more speed” according to his jockey. The smaller field may help his chances, but it still remains to be seen if he’ll be in the mood to run. On the bright side, his owners think he’s “in his best form since leaving Japan.”
7. Collected (10-1) – Coming in on two decisive wins, this Bob Baffert trainee is one of the more accomplished “new shooters” in the field, having won the Grade 3 Lexington and Sham Stakes. Like Nyquist and Stradivari, he’s a stalker who should enjoy a zippy pace. If Nyquist and/or Exaggerator have a bad day, he seems the most likely to capitalize on the situation, and should be a better a price than Stradivari.
8. Laoban (30-1) – Perhaps it’s not a great endorsement that his best effort came in the Grade 1 Wood where his inside post and the speed favoring track helped him run a close 2nd to Shagaf, who was “too tired” to finish in the Derby. Last out in the Grade 1 Blue Grass he set his usual zippy pace and tired for 4th. On the positive side he does get the services of red hot jock Florent Geroux, and given that he’s finished within a few lengths of the winner in four of his five starts, he could stick around for a piece of the action, although he seems highly unlikely to score his first career win in this spot.
9. Abiding Star (30-1) – After going winless in 6 starts as a 2-year-old, this Parx Derby winner has been undefeated in 5 starts as a 3-year-old, albeit against much softer company. In each of his wins he gained the lead early and led all the way. His post will make it harder for him to get the lead here, especially given the speedy Uncle Lino and Laoban to his inside, and the more accomplished field makes a four-peat unlikely.
10. Fellowship (30-1) – When he didn’t make the points cut-off for the Derby, the 3rd place Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby finisher went to the Pat Day Mile, where he ran 4th. Given that his recent best efforts have come at distances beyond a mile, he could move forward here. And, like his previous efforts in Florida, he could be in the mix late.
11. Stradivari (8-1) – FOURTH – Making only his second start this year and fourth career start, this allowance winner has turned heads by racking up back-to-back 10+ length victories. His stakes debut is certainly a big step-up given that he’s faced much less accomplished fields. No doubt he’s talented, but it’s tough to gauge how well he may perform here given that he has yet to encounter any real tests in his three races. And given his given his up-front running style, the outside post won’t make his task any easier.