(Reuters) - Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist drew the third post for the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore on Saturday where he will seek the second jewel of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
Undefeated Nyquist, looking to stretch his unblemished record to 8-0, was rated an odds-on 3-5 pick after the draw for the 11-horse field in the 1-3/16 mile race at Pimlico.
Rated the second pick for the Preakness at 3-1 was Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator, who drew the fifth post position, with 8-1 third choice Stradivari drawing outside gate No. 11.
Nyquist trainer Doug O‘Neill was unfazed by the draw that put his quick-starting colt toward the inside of the field.
“With his gate speed, the post position draw wasn’t as important,” O‘Neill said. “Uncle Lino (No. 2 post) is a talented horse who has got a lot of speed and is right inside of him, hopefully they both break good and we’ll see what happens.”
The Preakness will be held two weeks after the Derby, where Nyquist beat hard-closing Exaggerator in the 1-1/4 miles race at Churchill Downs.
Exaggerator has earned over $2 million but has lost all four meetings with Nyquist.
“We have to respect Nyquist for what he’s done,” said Exaggerator trainer Keith Desormeaux. “But one thing that can hopefully help us turn the tables is the fact that Exaggerator is such a quick recovering horse and the two-week turnaround I think is going to play to our advantage.”
Bob Baffert, who trained American Pharoah, who last year ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought with a sweep of the series for 3-year-old horses, is going for a record-tying seventh Preakness win with fourth-choice Collected at 10-1.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue