ESPN.com news services
For the first time in five races against his rival, Exaggerator beat Nyquist to win the 141st Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
Racing on a sloppy track, the Kentucky Derby runner-up eased past Nyquist at the start of the homestretch and held on for the victory at Pimlico.
It was the first loss in nine races for Nyquist, who finished third and was bidding to become the first undefeated horse since Big Brown to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Nyquist had won his first eight races.
American Freedom rewarded Bob Baffert’s faith in the horse by grinding out a 1-1/4-length victory over Voluntario in the Sir Barton over a muddy track at Pimlico.
In a tragic start to Preakness day, Homeboykris died on his walk back to the barn after winning the first race and Pramedya was euthanized after breaking her leg during the fourth race.
Cherry Wine, who went off at 17-1 odds, caught Nyquist, the 3-5 favorite, at the line and finished second.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux and trained by his brother Keith, Exaggerator, who was the second favorite at 5-2, took charge at the 3/16th pole and outlasted the tiring Nyquist down the stretch.
It was the first time since 1993 that the Kentucky Derby runner-up won the Preakness.
In spite of the rain and temperatures that hovered in the mid-50s, track officials estimated the crowd to be 134,000 — a new Preakness record.
The race was run on a sloppy track after rains returned to Pimlico shortly before the 8th race Saturday. In addition, it rained in Baltimore overnight and well into the morning before letting up shortly before noon.
The track conditions may have helped Exaggerator, who won the Santa Anita Derby on a sloppy track, and Cherry Wine, which broke its maiden by 9 1/2 lengths under similar conditions.
Before American Pharoah won last year’s Preakness on a sloppy track en route to winning the Triple Crown, the event hadn’t been run on sloppy or muddy terrain since 1983.
A sloppy track is classified as one that is saturated with water and has standing water visible. A muddy track is wet with no standing water, because it has seeped down into the base.
Information from ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press was used in this report.