Rain Adds Wrinkle to 2016 Preakness Stakes

Rain Adds Wrinkle to 2016 Preakness Stakes

Category : News - Thu 19/05/2016 - 01:28 EDT

With the Baltimore forecast calling for 1-2 inches of precipitation Saturday, May 21, the 2016 Preakness plot thickens. Which contenders are likely to be impacted, and how does a saturated Pimlico track affect the handicapping process?

As veteran handicappers will attest, it’s difficult to gauge which horses will handle an off-track until they get the chance to prove it. In terms of “proving it,” no horse in the 2016 field comes close to having the sloppy track resume of Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator, who has won a pair of million dollar stakes races over the off-going. As a juvenile, Exaggerator won the Delta Jackpot Stakes over a sloppy track and showed his affinity again for the wet stuff, winning the Santa Anita Derby in April. While it can be argued that Exaggerator will move forward over a sloppy track, will it be enough to overcome Nyquist who has defeated the colt in all four meetings, at three different tracks and four different distances?

Nyquist figures to handle slop

Perhaps a better question is how will Nyquist handle a sloppy track? If the colt’s versatility is any indicator, the betting public should assume the Doug O’Neill trainee will handle an off track just like he handles all new challenges: with aplomb. Nyquist has already won grade one races at four different race tracks – all with very different racing surfaces – while never appearing the least bit daunted. His Florida Derby win in April came over a Gulfstream Park racing surface that had been soaked earlier in the day and was listed as “good.”

Any other mudders?

Among the other contenders, Cherry Wine has a solid sloppy track pedigree as his father, Paddy O’ Prado, finished a fast-closing third in the 2010 Kentucky Derby. There’s also the up-and-coming Stradivari, who looks to have the tactical speed and breeding (sired by Medaglia d’Oro) to adjust to a sloppy track. 

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