Exaggerator Retired


October 10th 2016

It was announced today that the popular 3 year-old colt Exaggerator was retired from racing and he will stand at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky to begin his stud career. The son of Curlin is the only 3 year-old to win three Grade 1 stakes races in 2016 (shown below). He had qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Classic with his win in the Haskell Invitational back in late July. So it appears that Arrogate and Nyquist will be the only two 3 year-olds competing in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. And Nyquist will stand at Darley America following his final start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. 

The decision shouldn’t be much of a surprise given that Exaggerator seemed to only excel on wet, sloppy tracks and had an 11th place and 7th place finish in his last two starts. I will add that I think his running style and penchant to like an off track, that this would translated very well to turf and hoped that the Desormeaux brothers tried he once on that surface.

Exaggerator retires with six wins in 15 starts, five of which were stakes wins and earnings of $3,581,120. A look back at Exaggerator’s three biggest wins.

The 2016 Santa Anita Derby

The 2016 Preakness Stakes

The 2016 Haskell Invitational 

I will be posting updated Breeders’ Cup Classic contender rankings by Wednesday evening.


Analyzing Exaggerator’s win over undefeated Nyquist in the Preakness Stakes

May 21st, 2016

The 141st Preakness Stakes (shown below) will be viewed by many as an upset with Exaggerator finally beating undefeated Nyquist after 5 attempts.

But in reality, this was a confluence of talent and opportunity. Coming into the Preakness Stakes, Exaggerator had the highest average Beyer Speed figure for 3 year-olds in 2016. He had a 98 Beyer Speed Figure in the San Vicente Stakes in February, a 96 Beyer in the San Felipe in March, a 103 Beyer in the Santa Anita Derby in April and a 101 Beyer in the Kentucky Derby.

Exaggerator excelled on a sloppy track in the Santa Anita Derby, so today’s win should have been no surprise. Credit Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who did a masterful job placing Exaggerator right where he needed to be to have a chance to run down Nyquist.

In summary–Exaggerator is an extremely talented thoroughbred. Entering the Preakness Stakes, Exaggerator was ranked as the 7th best racehorse in the world in Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings and the 3rd best on dirt (Source). His winning time of 1:58.31 on a similar sloppy track was faster than American Pharoah’s time of 1:58.46 in the 2015 Preakness Stakes. Admittedly, American Pharoah coasted home in last year’s Preakness, winning by 7 lengths. But last year’s race had faster fractions through 1 mile and I feel that Exaggerator would have given American Pharoah a run for his money if nothing else.


Although many are disappointed that we won’t have a Triple Crown candidate entering Belmont this year, REJOICE! The sport has two great 3 year-old thoroughbreds. Despite the loss, Nyquist is still a great race horse. He is 8-1 and has won five Grade 1 stakes races. His $5.1 million dollars in race earnings ranks him in the top 50 all-time.

Some may question jockey Mario Gutierrez’s decision to get hooked up in a battle for the lead with Uncle Lino so early but it is hindsight vision. Nyquist was right where he needed to be but just didn’t have the final kick down the stretch that he had in the Kentucky Derby. I feel this was due to the track conditions. Nyquist had only run once on a wet track that was rated as “good” in the Florida Derby. I generally feel that he would have won today had the track surface been rated as fast or good. But Mother Nature intervened.

The Belmont Stakes on June 11th will hopefully offer a rematch of these two great thoroughbreds. And don’t forget about Dale Romans’ Cherry Wine who took a huge leap in improvement today with his surprise 2nd place finish. He looks like a horse who will excel in races 1 1/4 mile or longer.


The 2016 Preakness Stakes Starting Lineup, Post Positions, Odds and Analysis

May 14th 2016 – Updated 5/21/2017 at 3:15 PM CST

Below are the entries, post-positions and morning line odds for the 2016 Preakness Stakes along with detailed profiles of each horse. I have also included projected order of finish if run on a dry, fast track. Note that a bold font text is hyperlinked to either a horse’s Equibase profile or a race video from Youtube. This is to aid in your own research.

Weather Report:  The track right now is rated as “Muddy” which is between “Good” and “Sloppy” More rain is expected but it seems as if it will be light showers right around race time. Overall, the track conditions currently thus far don’t seem to be affecting much. There is more speed in this race than the Kentucky Derby. So this helps closers who seem unaffected by the track conditions so long as they stay in the clear and out of the splatter from horses ahead of them. I am not concerned how Nyquist will handle these off track conditions.

***Horses who have raced on a sloppy track include: Exaggerator (1st – Santa Anita Derby), Uncle Lino (3rd – Santa Anita Derby), Abiding Star (1st – race at Parx 4/12/16), Cherry Wine (1st – race at Churchill Downs 11/28/15) and Fellowship (7th – Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes 9/5/15).

141st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico – Race #13 – Post Time: 5:45 PM CST – NBC

1) Cherry Wine  (20/1) – My projected finish – 8th place
Career: 8 Starts 2-1-2-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th–>3rd
Sire:  Paddy O’Prado (Finished 6th in the 2010 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Dale Romans (2011 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey:  Corey Lanerie
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:50.50 (calculated) – Blue Grass Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 88  – 87.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  88 – Blue Grass Stakes

2) Uncle Lino  (20/1) –  My projected finish – 6th place
Career: 7 Starts 2-2-2-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Uncle Mo  
Trainer: Gary Sherlock 
Jockey: Fernando Perez
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:51.02 (calculated) – Santa Anita Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 90, 95  – 92.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  95 – California Chrome Stakes

3) Nyquist   (3/5) –  My projected finish – 1st place
Career: 8 Starts 8-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Uncle Mo  
Trainer: Doug O’Neill (2012 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez (2012 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.11 – Florida Derby
Best 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:01.31Kentucky Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 94, 103  – 98.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 –Kentucky Derby

4) Awesome Speed (30/1) –  My projected finish – 11th place
Career: 6 Starts 4-0-0-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th–>1st
Sire:  Awesome Again 
Trainer: Alan Goldberg
Jockey: Jevian Toledo
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:53.31 – Federico Tesio Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 74, 83  – 78.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  87 – Mucho Macho Man Stakes

5) Exaggerator (3/1) –  My projected finish – 3rd place (1st place if sloppy wet track)
Career: 10 Starts 4-3-1-1 
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Curlin (2007 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux (1998 & 2008 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.66 – Santa Anita Derby
Best 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:01.51 (calculated) – Kentucky Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 103, 101  – 102 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – Santa Anita Derby

6) Lani (30/1) –  My projected finish – 9th place
Career: 7 Starts 3-1-0-1
Last 3 starts: 5th–>1st–>9th
Sire: Tapit (Finished 9th in 2004 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga 
Jockey:  Yukata Take
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: N/A – 1:52.84 (estimated time from 1900 Meter UAE Derby)
Best 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:03.02 (calculated) – Kentucky Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 83 (est), 87 – 85 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 87 –  Kentucky Derby

7) Collected (10/1) –  My projected finish – 4th place
Career: 6 Starts 4-1-0-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>1st
Sire: City Zip
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2010 & 2015 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano (2006 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:48.90 – Sunland Park Festival of Racing
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 90, 90  – 90 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – Lexington Stakes

8) Laoban (30/1) –  My projected finish – 10th place
Career: 4 Starts 0-2-1-1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>2nd–>4th
Sire:  Uncle Mo 
Trainer: Eric Guillot
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:50.98 (calculated) – Blue Grass Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 85, 84  – 84.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  85 – Gotham Stakes

9) Abiding Star (30/1) –  My projected finish – 7th place
Career: 11 Starts 5-1-1-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire:  Uncle Mo 
Trainer: Edward Allard
Jockey: J.D. Acosta
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 83, 91 – 87 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  91 – Parx Derby

10) Fellowship (30/1) –  My projected finish – 5th place
Career: 12 Starts 2-3-3-1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>3rd–>4th
Sire: Awesome of Course
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Jose Lezcano
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:49.79 – Florida Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 86  – 86.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  87 – Florida Derby

11) Stradivari (8/1) –  My projected finish – 2nd place
Career: 3 Starts 2-0-0-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>1st
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro (Finished 8th in 2002 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher 
Jockey: John Velazquez
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.64Keeneland Allowance Race 4/17/16
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 79, 100  – 89.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100Keeneland Allowance Race 4/17/16

New Shooters

Todd Pletcher’s Stradivari represents the biggest new threat to Nyquist. Even though he has only raced three times, he proved to be exceptionally fast in his last start–an allowance race at Keeneland. He produced a very nice time of 1:48.64 in this 1 1/8th mile race and received a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his win. With that time, he would have blown away the Blue Grass Stakes field. Below is a video of the 2nd start of his career, a win at Gulfstream Park where he ran away from the field in a 1 1/16th mile race.

But we have been down this road before last year when Pletcher’s Materiality received a 109 Beyer Speed Figure in his 3rd start and win in the Florida Derby. Materiality went on to finish 6th in the Kentucky Derby and 8th in the Belmont Stakes. But note a couple of things. That Materiality’s time in the 1 1/8th mile 2015 Florida Derby was 1:52.30. Stradivari’s time of 1:48.64 in a 1 1/8th mile race at Keeneland was faster than Spectacular Bid and Holy Bull’s time of 1:50 flat in the Blue Grass Stakes. When comparing Materiality to Stradivari, nobody would say that Keeneland is a faster track than Gulfstream Park. Stradivari is a real threat to Nyquist.

Bob Baffert’s Collected is another new shooter than could hit the board. I felt he was good enough to be ranked in my top 10 Kentucky Derby Contenders but he failed to secure enough points to make the field.

Betting Advice

Rain is being forecasted for the Baltimore area on Saturday with an 80% chance of showers. Click HERE for weather updates. This will affect handicapping as it did last year. Right now for a dry race,  I would lean towards a Trifecta bet of four horses keying Nyquist to win. So Nyquist over Exaggerator, Stradivari and Collected–3 over 5, 7, 11. A $10 bet of this type would cost $60.

Here is a $1 Superfecta bet I made that costs $24: 3, 5, 11, with 3, 5, 11, with 5, 7, 11, with 1, 2, 7

Interesting fact: 23 out of the last 26 Preakness Stakes winners ran in the Kentucky Derby, this makes Exaggerator a little more attractive betting option and especially so if the race turns out to be wet, sloppy one.

If the race is run on a sloppy track, then I like this order of finish: 1st – Exaggerator, 2nd – Nyquist, 3rd – Stradivari, 4th – Uncle Lino–5-3-11-2


Nyquist Still Unbeaten! Back to back Triple Crown Winners? A real legitimate possibility

Kentucky_Derby_Horse_Racing-0e70f (1)

May 7th, 2016

GET EXCITED horse racing fans! We had a blast last year watching American Pharoah win a Triple Crown and then the very first Grand Slam of thoroughbred racing with his win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Nyquist’s winning time in the Kentucky Derby of 2:01.31 (shown below) was faster than American Pharoah’s time of 2:03.02 and the fastest since Funny Cide’s winning time of 2:01.19 in 2003. The opening fractions were fast which set up the race well for closers but Nyquist was simply too strong to beat.

We had back to back Triple Crown winners in the 1970s with Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. Can lightning strike twice like it did in the 1970s?

It is a real, legitimate possibility. Remember that I correctly identified Nyquist as the Kentucky Derby favorite 241 days ago in this blog. And I had 1st and 2nd place Kentucky Derby finishers ranked 1-2 in my last Kentucky Derby Contenders blog.

How well did Nyquist run in the Kentucky Derby? He earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure. Last year, American Pharoah received a 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his Kentucky Derby win. But the revealing fact is that Nyquist would have beaten the 2015 Kentucky Derby version of American Pharoah by 5 1/4 lengths when you look at the final quarter mile fractions. The pace was faster this year than last (2015: 23.24, 47.34, 1:11.29 & 1:36.45 vs 2016: 22.58, 45.72, 1:10.40 & 1:35.61). Nyquist should have been a little more tired having gone through a mile 0.84 seconds faster than American Pharoah had to in 2015. But the final 1/4th mile fraction of this year’s Kentucky Derby was 25.70 vs last year’s time of 26.57. That is 0.87 seconds faster for Nyquist which equates to at least 5 1/4 lengths.

It is time to get REAL excited again. Nyquist has a better resume thus far than American Pharoah. The Preakness Stakes will be another difficult test but I am confident that Nyquist can handle the competition.

So now I leave you with the #1 hit in 1978–Andy Gibb’s Shadow Dancing–the last year we had back-to-back Triple Crown winners. It is time to get dancing again! Nyquist will undoubtedably be in the shadow of American Pharoah but that is a very good shadow to be in.