Preakness Stakes Track Could Be Wet on Saturday
Category : News
Tue 17/05/2016 - 14:26 EDT
The weekend forecast is calling for the possibility of heavy rain for Saturday, setting the stage for a track that could be muddy to sloppy. That raises the question of how track conditions could come into play in the Preakness.
The one thing that Kentucky Derby champ Nyquist hasn't had to face during his eight-race undefeated streak is a badly off track. He started his career racing under the sunny California skies, and his lone race on a less-than-fast track came when he shipped to Gulfstream to win the Florida Derby over a surface rated as good. How he would handle slop remains to be seen, but what jockey Mario Gutierrez holds up his sleeve is that he can put his colt anywhere in the track he wants - in the three path, say, racing just off the lead and out of the mess - and win from there, if Nyquist takes to the footing.
Exaggerator has a win at Sloppy Santa Anita
If Nyquist doesn't take to the footing, there are not a lot of others in the field outside of Exaggerator who have proven ability on wet tracks. He was a winner in the mud in the (G3) Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs, and then launched himself into the Derby when he came roaring home to win the (G1) Santa Anita Derby over one of the sloppiest tracks seen at Santa Anita in quite awhile. His connections have to be hoping for a deluge in Baltimore, as every drop levels the playing field in his fifth bid to beat Nyquist.
Mud win another reason to like Stradivari
Of the rest in the field, only Awesome Speed and Stradivari have won over surfaces less than fast, the latter breaking his maiden at Gulfstream by 11 lengths over a track rated good. Besides Exaggerator, the other horse with a proven ability to handle a sloppy track is Cherry Wine, who got his maiden win coming from off the pace in the muck at Churchill Downs.
The Grade 2 $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby features the two biggest names from the Triple Crown trail September 24 at Parx as a field of 12 gathers in one of the most intriguing betting races of the year.
The $1 million Cotillion Stakes September 24 at Parx features a true clash of the titans as the six-horse field is headlined by the undefeated, five-time grade 1 winner Songbird who figures to face the most stern challenge of her career.
In a completely wide open renewal of the Presque Isle Mile September 18 at Presque Isle Downs, 13 runners including the also-eligible will contest the eight furlong trip over synthetic footing.
Champion Songbird is set to make her much-anticipated return to the races in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita on Saturday. The Grade 2 event will be run at a mile and a sixteenth and has attracted a field of seven.