BALTIMORE — It was a typical Preakness draw: nothing to get excited about.
In a field of 11 overflowing with speed, much of it cheap, the 3-5 favorite, undefeated Nyquist, and the 3-1 second choice, Derby runner-up Exaggerator, drew favorably Wednesday. The Kentucky Derby winner has the 3 hole, from where he can save ground and stalk the pace. From post 5, Exaggerator can tuck in and wait to make his late move.
Theoretically, of course, assuming both break well and avoid traffic trouble.
Nyquist’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, was his usual upbeat self. “I think with his gate speed, post position isn’t that important,’’ he said. “He gets away well and can establish position. He’s sure-footed, so whatever the track condition is, he’ll be fine.”
Weather.com was forecasting a 70-percent chance of rain for Saturday at Pimlico. Nyquist and Exaggerator each has dominated a major stakes on an off track, so that should be a wash.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux is 0-for-8 chasing Nyquist, including 0-for-4 with Exaggerator. “Hopefully, we can turn the tables,’’ he said. “Coming back in only two weeks, we’re lucky Exaggerator is a quick recovery horse.”
Beyond the top two, bettors will agonize over the bottom slots in trifectas and superfectas. Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Stradivari (post 11, 8-1) and Bob Baffert’s Collected (post 7, 10-1) are the only others below 20-1, and each makes a massive class jump.
Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist’s cool rider, took it all in stride, saying, “I think he’ll adapt to whatever conditions are that day.’’