The Triple Crown is not on the line headed into the Belmont Stakes. Nonetheless, Exaggerator and Nyquist will likely compete in the "Test of Champions". Check out early Horse Racing Odds here.
There will be no back-to-back Triple Crown winners this year after Exaggerator upset Nyquist on a sloppy track at Pimlico to win the 141st Preakness Stakes (G1).
The Keith Desormeaux-trained colt, second choice at the windows at 13-5, toppled the Kentucky Derby winner and then undefeated favorite (7-10) for the first time in five attempts. The son of Uncle Mo finished in third place behind longshot Cherry Wine (17-1), who rounded out the Exacta.
The post-time favorite had donned the blanket of Black-Eyed Susans in 17 of the last 38 races, but it was not to be for Nyquist on a dreary Saturday afternoon. Jockey Mario Gutierrez piloted the Triple Crown hopeful into an overly fast duel with speedster Uncle Lino (35-1) through the first ¾ of a mile, going 22.38 for the quarter and 46.56 for the half. Caught outside three-to-four wide through the first turn, any energy left for a stretch run was all but sapped.
Exaggerator, meanwhile, broke cleanly and settled in on the rail. Jockey Kent Desormeaux, Keith's brother, rode the horse calmly, despite slipping 13 lengths from the lead early on. The son of Curlin, who entered the race a proven winner on an off-track, took to the surface and glided his way to within striking distance on the far turn. With all the momentum, Desormeaux crossed Gutierrez for the lead on the stretch and never looked back. In Kent's words following the race, “I had a dream trip today.”
The Triple Crown series shifts to Elmont, New York in three weeks for the Belmont Stakes (G1). The $1.5 million race will be run on June 11, with $800,00 awarded to the winner. Although the field is far from settled for the 148th running of the “Test of the Champion,” advanced lines are popping up at some sportsbooks for the winner.
Exaggerator, with his long stride and closing style, is the favorite and still an attractive betting pick at 7-4 odds. The 1½-mile race, the longest of the three legs, figures to suit his running style best. Nyquist trainer Doug O'Neill told reporters it's “a strong possibility” his horse shows up at Belmont, despite all Triple Crown hopes dashed. The colt is second choice at 2-1 odds. Fellow Derby runner and deep closer, Suddenbreakingnews, who skipped the Maryland stop, is third favorite (8-1). Cherry Wine and Preakness fourth-place finisher Stradiveri round out the top five betting choices at 10-1 horceracing odds.
The following are advanced prices for the Belmont States, less than 24 hours after the Preakness Stakes finish, aggregated from multiple top rated sportsbooks, such as BetOnline, Bookmaker, Heritage & Intertops:
This is the first time in the last three years a Triple Crown championship is not on the line at Belmont. Nonetheless, there should be plenty of excitement if Exaggerator and Nyquist both show up, serving as a sort of rubber match between the two. Check back in regularly for updated news and betting activity headed up to the potential showdown.