The Preakness Stakes is closing in on us with rapid speed, and with it our answer to whether or not we will see another Triple Crown winner. This past Saturday didn’t feature a Preakness Stakes challenger, but quite possibly a Belmont challenger.
Imagine this: Nyquist takes the Preakness Stakes and heads to Belmont Park, where he hooks up with yet another undefeated colt — Unified.
Unified’s pedigree may not be ideal for the distance of the Belmont Stakes, 12 furlongs (1 ½ miles); however, his running style has proven suitable for the race.
In the Peter Pan Stakes, Unified showed a new dimension, not just by stretching out in distance, but by rating kindly just off the pace. The tactics led to a solid win in which he finished the race in a dazzling 1:47.14.
By the way, that final time marks the fourth-fastest running in the race’s history.
If that little tidbit doesn’t make you turn your head, then how about the fact that he was able to finish his final eighth of a mile in a solid 12.68 seconds. He was able to do this despite tracking a blistering pace and having one of the widest trips in the field.
His Equibase base figure (110) and Beyer Speed Figure (96) lend legitimacy to the race, as both of those fit right in with the best performances of his generation, thus far.
It should also be noted that he was able to turn in this kind of an effort while lacking the seasoning that others had when recording similar numbers. This was only Unified’s third career start and he was stretching out a full quarter-mile in distance. On the other hand, many of his opponents had over five career starts, and were only making minor jumps in distance, if any at all.
This begs the question: If Unified can do this well with this little experience, what will he be able to do once he gets some foundation?
The Belmont Stakes is still a month away and the Preakness is yet to be run. However, this horse is such an exciting talent that it is hard to imagine him not giving Nyquist a good run in the Belmont.
As it stands now, Jerken’s is unsure of the Belmont for his charge, stating that there would need to be several key defections in order for him to point Unified in that direction. However, I wouldn’t give up hope just yet. It’s like Jerken’s said: “You’d be an idiot nowadays to rule anything, because things change overnight.”