Kentucky Derby Runners Dominate ‘New Shooters’ in Preakness

Nyquist holds off Exaggerator in the Kentucky Derby.

Nyquist holds off Exaggerator in the Kentucky Derby. Both are scheduled to start in the Preakness Stakes on May 21.

It is commonplace for bettors and racing fans to pin their Preakness hopes on the “new shooters.” They feel that, because they have had more rest, they will be fresher than the horses coming from the Kentucky Derby off only two weeks of rest.

It is a common and very costly misconception that should be avoided.

Of the past 20 runnings of the Preakness Stakes, only three were won by horses that didn’t race in the Kentucky Derby. And, of those three, only two won the race with more than two weeks rest.

One betting strategy that is not ill-advised, however, is picking a Kentucky Derby loser.

As mentioned earlier, 17 of the last 20 editions of the Preakness have been won by those making their last start in the Kentucky Derby. Seven of those 10 have won the Preakness after losing the Kentucky Derby.

All of the seven that lost the Kentucky Derby prior to winning the Preakness ran well in defeat, but simply had circumstances against them.

Lookin At Lucky had a horrible trip after breaking from post position one in Louisville, but when given a clean trip, proved that he was easily the best.

Oxbow was close to a torrid pace in the 2013 edition of the Kentucky Derby and simply couldn’t sustain the pace. In the Preakness, he coasted to the front and set a much more reasonable pace before bursting clear in the stretch.

Afleet Alex raced within five lengths of a ridiculous pace as well, made a bit of a premature move into the pace, before being collared late. He too returned to dominate the Preakness, despite an incident that nearly caused him to go down entering the stretch.

The mighty Curlin had to alter his running style after breaking slowly from an inwards post, then had to make a wide bid in the Derby. In the Preakness, he had a much better trip and re-rallied to nail the Kentucky Derby Winner Street Sense on the wire.

Are there any possible Derby starters that have a good shot at revenge in Baltimore?

The answer is yes.

Gun Runner, who is listed as possible right now, raced very close to the out-of-control freight train, Danzing Candy, in the Kentucky Derby. Being so close to the fractions took their toll on the colt, who lacked his normal burst of acceleration that usually separates him from the field coming into the stretch.

The Preakness will likely have a more moderate pace, which should leave him with more left in the tank. The main question surrounding him will be is it enough to outkick Nyquist? He is the only horse to have passed Nyquist late in a race, but it was only briefly. If he can sustain his burst this time around, it is possible that he could have a shot.

The other Kentucky Derby returnee is familiar rival Exaggerator.

Exaggerator had to overcome a ton of traffic trouble, which stalled him in the middle of his big move. He had to tap on the breaks, while dipping and dodging around horses, before Kent Desormeaux was able to find an outside path for his charge to unleash his kick.

The official race chart gives the best description of his trip. It reads as follows:

“EXAGGERATOR drafted back off the early pace saving ground, picked up steam into the far turn, angled out and aggressively knifed his way between foes nearing the quarter pole, swung out before being straightened into the stretch, then closed strongly to narrow the gap.”

The Preakness figures to have a much smaller field, leaving the chances of traffic trouble significantly reduced for Exaggerator.

Obviously, all this advice could be in vain, as Kentucky Derby winners still hold the edge in taking the Preakness Stakes. However, if Nyquist should prove vulnerable, remember to steer clear of the new shooters and look towards those who are coming from the Kentucky Derby.

Laura Pugh
Laura Pugh has been in love with horses since age five, when she took her first ride as a birthday gift. When she was nine years old she began to take riding lessons as a hunter/jumper. Her first introduction to racing was watching War Emblem’s Triple Crown attempt and, from there, she was hooked. Her knowledge of the sport was self-learned, as she took to reading every book on the topic that she could lay hands on.

In 2009 she began her own blog named Horsin’ Around, where she earned a reputation for her passionate and fiery articles. It was that recognition that soon landed her a position as author of Dead Heat Debates, one of Horse Racing Nation’s many blogs. Since then she has written for other publications such as and Lady and the Track, always demonstrating the same fiery passion that her followers have come to expect.

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