An FAQ To The Preakness Stakes
The 141st running of the "Run for the Black Eyed Susans" will commence today from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the second stage in the three headed monster that is the Triple Crown. The hats may not be as outrageous as the Preakness's stuffy older brother, The Kentucky Derby, and the field has been cut almost in half, but there's still plenty to look forward to in today's event. Here, we provide a short but vital FAQ on the happenings from "Maryland, My Maryland".
What Should I Know To Sound At Least A Little Smart?
Well, you should know that two weeks ago, the horse Nyquist became this year's name that everyone will remember, as it was he who took home the Kentucky Derby. You should also know that today's race will run 1 3/16 miles (equal to 9.5 furloughs if you want to impress your horse racing fan friends), just short of the 1 1/4 length of the Derby. You should also bear in mind that this is part two of the Triple Crown, but you likely already knew that because I know you're not a total idiot.
As for the Preakness itself, it began in 1873. The record time for the race was captured by a familiar name, Secretariat, who ran an even 1:53 race in the event's centennial in 1973.
So Does This Nyquist Have A Shot At The Triple Crown?
Definitely! Saturday will mark the 9th race that the 3-year-old named after Detroit Red Wings skater Gustav Nyquist will run in his career; in the previous 8 races, he has been adorned with whatever trophy prop happens to be given out during that race, including the roses two weeks ago at Churchill Downs. Nyquist's team, including owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill have been in this position before. In 2012, the group found itself in a similar position with I'll Have Another, who took home the first two stages of the Triple Crown before bowing out of the Belmont due to injury. Through Nyquist, the team has a chance to make their Triple Crown aspirations right again. Nyquist opens at 3-5 odds, and, predictably, is the favorite.
But Who Else Should I Keep An Eye On?
Nyquist is by no means the only horse to keep an eye on. There are a few familiar long faces that will be among the 11 horses who take part on Saturday, along with several newcomers. Other than Nyquist, the current favorites are the following...
Exaggerator (3-1)-The Kentucky Derby runner up, Exaggerator hung out in the back for most of the Run for the Roses before making a late charge to finish a mere 1 1/4 lengths away from victory. With The Preakness running slightly shorter, it will be important for Exaggerator to get off to a good start. He dropped as low as 15th during the Derby, and as impressive as the comeback was, coming ever so close to victory stings.
Stradivari (8-1)-While he did not run the Derby, Stradivari has an excellent team on his side. Jockey John Velazquez has ridden to victories in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, and trainer Todd Pletcher has captured over 4,000 victories, though a Triple Crown has remained elusive. The youngest horse in the field, foaled on April 24, 2013, Stradavari has won his last two races by an impressive 25 3/4 lengths. Denied so many times at the Preakness, this could be the perfect opportunity for Pletcher and Velazquez to end their struggles at Pimlico.
Collected (10-1)-Another Derby absentee, Collected comes from the stables of trainer Bob Baffert, who earned horse racing glory last year along side American Pharaoh, who captured the elusive Triple Crown prize. Prior to today, Collected has...well, collected...victories in his previous couple of races, the Lexington Stakes and the Sunland Park Festival of Racing. In the latter event, Collected won on a wet track, and rain is expected in the Baltimore area today. Baffert accomplished last year what his competitors failed at for decades. If he can end that dream for another, so be it.
So, Where Are All The Hats? This Must Be A Pretty Boring Event.
Yes, folks, the Preakness actually had a mascot celebrating its infield party. While mostly frowned upon by Maryland racing officials, Kegasus would patrol the Pimlico infield under the guise of "attracting a younger demographic". However, the mythical creature proved to be a little too much, with some remarking that Kegasus promoted binge drinking...and with a name like that it's really hard to argue that. Kegasus, who unlike his apparent mentor Pegasus is a centaur, not a winged horse, was scratched in 2012.
I Can't Make It To The Race...or the Infield Sadly...When Will It Be on TV?
National coverage of the race will begin at 2:30 PM EST on NBCSN, and will run until 5 PM, at which point the broadcast will move to NBC. If you're looking to skip the prep and get right to the race, post time is slated for 6:45 PM EST.
I Assume The Events Will Be Live Streamed?
Indeed! All the coverage of today's events is available via the NBC Sports Live Extra app and website. Don't wait until post time to get there, though, because a login may be required.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490
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