Nyquist and His Journey toward History

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
~Vince Lombardi

Two-year-old champion Nyquist is looking to take the next step in his journey toward history when he heads to the track next Saturday in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes (GI). The undefeated son of Uncle Mo was ultra impressive winning the Kentucky Derby (GI) as the 2-1 wagering favorite.

There is little doubt of his talent and, in my opinion, there is little doubt that he will win this edition of the Preakness Stakes. I am guessing the majority of you reading this feel the same way, although I’m sure there are a select few that aren’t so quick to agree.

Let’s take a historical look at the Preakness Stakes and decide if Nyquist has what it takes to win the Preakness Stakes and advance to the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

Horses who participate in the Kentucky Derby hold a huge statistical advantage in the Preakness Stakes.

Since 1991:

  • 22 of the past 25 winners of the Preakness Stakes participated in the Kentucky Derby. (Rachel Alexandra, Bernardini and Red Bullet were the exceptions.)
  • 12 of the past 25 Kentucky Derby winners have won the Preakness Stakes.
  • 10 of the past 25 Kentucky Derby favorites have won the Preakness Stakes.

Chart A

Speed figures are an important way to establish guidelines on what type of horse can win the Preakness Stakes.

Since 1991:

  • War Emblem recorded the highest last-race Brisnet speed figure (113) — in the Kentucky Derby — out of the last 25 winners of the Preakness Stakes.
  • 16 out of the last 25 winners of the Preakness Stakes recorded a Brisnet speed figure of at least 100 in the Kentucky Derby.
  • The median last-race Brisnet speed figure for the Preakness Stakes is 101.
  • Louis Quatorze recorded the worst/lowest last-race Brisnet speed figure (83) out of the last 25 winners of the Preakness Stakes.
  • If you throw out Louis Quatorze’s Brisnet speed figure (83), the next-lowest last-race Brisnet speed figure was recorded by Hansel and Pine Bluff (94)

Chart B

The Preakness Stakes gives credence to the phrase “It’s not how fast you go, it’s how you go fast.”

Since 1991:

  • 4 out of the last 25 editions of the Preakness Stakes were won in wire-to-wire fashion.
  • The median last-race Early Speed Ration (ESR) is -5.
  • The median last-race Late Speed ration (LSR) is -8.

Chart C

If you are not familiar with speed rations, they were developed by Derek Simon back in the 1990s. The objective is to establish the amount of energy a horse is using during a particular portion of the race. This is an extremely valuable tool to assess whether or not the given horse can adapt to the energy requirements of today’s race. Here is what the numbers mean:

Early Speed Ration (ESR) 
The lower the number, more energy is being used.

-15 = Demanding
-10 = Brisk
-5 = Moderate
0 = Soft

Late Speed Ration (LSR)
The higher the number, more energy is being used.

0 = Excellent
-5 = Good
-10 = Fair
-15 = Poor

Looking at the chart below we see some pretty fantastic statistics from some former Kentucky Derby winners that have all come back to win the Preakness Stakes.

Chart D

So how does Nyquist stack up against some of the heavy hitters that have graced the Triple Crown trail?

Chart E

For anyone who doubted Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby (two thumbs pointing at this guy), you need to realize that we could possibly be on the verge of something extremely special here. I cannot promise you that he will cover one mile and a half in New York, but he should win the Preakness and give himself an opportunity to be the first undefeated Triple Crown winner since Seattle Slew in 1977.

If you are a fan of Nyquist and believe he will win the Preakness, I strongly encourage you to place a future wager on Nyquist to win the Triple Crown if you can get over even odds or better.

Best of luck on Preakness weekend!

Andrew Morisch
Drew Morisch, aka “Drew Mo” or the “Bloghorse,” has been an avid sports fan since he was born. Growing up in Nebraska, it was easy for him to fall in love with football and horse racing. He became a huge horse racing fan by attending Ak-Sar-Ben race track before its gates closed (sadly) for the last time in 1995.

Horses such as Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Black Tie Affair, Preakness winner Gate Dancer and local favorite Who Doctor Who all graced the dirt at Ak-Sar-Ben and helped power Drew’s passion for the Sport of Kings.

Drew has other passions to go along with horse racing. He is a big Nebraska Cornhuskers fan. You will usually find him tailgating at some undisclosed location on game days. Drew loves crunching numbers and analyzing data. Whether it’s PE ratios on stocks, speed figures in horse racing, or assist-to-turnover ratios in basketball, there is no such thing as too much information in his book. Drew also plays fantasy sports.

You interact with Drew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrewMorisch or follow him on Twitter @thebloghorse.

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