The Preakness Stakes 2016 results are in, and Exaggerator pulled off the upset on a wet and sloppy track to end Nyquist’s bid at a Triple Crown.
The far-and-away favorite to win the Preakness Stakes, Nyquist led for the first three-quarters of the race but lost steam down the stretch, allowing Exaggerator to pull ahead and finish first. Cherry Wine also overcame Nyquist before the finish line, taking second.
Nyquist, who entered the race as a 5-to-4 favorite to win, finished third.
Even before the Preakness Stakes 2016 results were in, the stories of the day were already formulating, and the wet weather was among the top of them. Meteorologists all week had been predicting rain for Saturday, a drenching, steady stream of it that was expected to last all throughout the day.
It led to soggy conditions for Pimlico Race Course for all the races on Saturday, along with wind gusts that at times reached 20 mph. It was reminiscent of last year’s race, when American Pharoah trudged through wet conditions to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Nyquist’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, said the wet conditions didn’t worry him too much.
“With a horse like Nyquist, I’m not overly concerned about the weather,” O’Neill said Friday, via ABC News. “As far as rain or shine, we’re not going to change anything shoeing-wise He’s going to wear the same shoes he’s got on. We’d just love to have a beautiful day.”
O’Neill also said he was planning to adjust to whatever the conditions might bring, and whatever kind of race it ended up being.
“I think we’re going to leave there running and just kind of play it by ear,” O’Neill said, via Forbes. “If they’re not showing a lot of pace, we’re going to make it. If it’s hot and heavy, (jockey) Mario (Gutierrez) has shown and Nyquist has shown that they can sit off a hot and heavy pace.”
Many experts predicted the upset given the sloppy track conditions. The rain was considered a wild card for the Preakness Stakes 2016 results, giving an advantage to Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator, a horse with a track record of running well in the mud. Long-shot Cherry Wine had also excelled on muddy tracks, including a win in the mud at the Santa Anita Derby.
“I’ll be one of the few people doing a rain dance,” Cherry Wine’s trainer Dale Romans said before Saturday’s race.
But the worst of the rain was over by the time the Preakness Stakes kicked off at 6:45 p.m.
Saturday also brought tragedy to Pimlico Race Course. In the races leading up to the Preakness Stakes, two horses died on the track either during or immediately after races. The first was Maryland-bred Homeboykris, a 2010 Kentucky Derby winner, which collapsed and died after winning the day’s first race.
As the Baltimore Sun noted, it was not the first time tragedy struck the owners of Homeboykris.
“Pramedya’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson (Lael Stables), also owned Barbaro, who won the 2006 Kentucky Derby before breaking his leg two weeks later in the Preakness.”
In the fourth race of the day, 4-year-old filly Pramedya suffered a bone fracture and had to be euthanized on the track. Her jockey, Daniel Canteno, also fractured his clavicle and had to be taken to a nearby hospital.
The full Preakness Stakes 2016 results can be found here.
[Photo by Garry Jones/AP Images]