Charlotte - The post position draw took place Wednesday for the 141 Running of the Preakness Stakes with a field of 10 contenders lining up to challenge undefeated Nyquist.
While there are some that will enter the starting gates fresh, there are two returning tested challengers and eight newcomers to the field.
Today, Nyquist went twice around the Pimlico Race Course lead track in his final preparation for Saturday's scheduled race.
Trainer Doug O'Neill claimed of his colt, "He went well today." "He jogged two miles and was composed."
Nyquist is the son of Uncle Mo and is the 3-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 11 entered in the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1). He will break from post 3 and trainer O'Neill is hopeful that he can exit sharply and get a clean race under jockey Mario Guiterrez.
Nyquist is sired by Uncle Mo and is out of Seeking Gabrielle and was a winner from the beginning. He became a graded champion in the Del Mar Futurity in September in 2015 with a 3-3/4 length lead.
Pat Costello of Paramount Sales in Lexington, Kentucky purchased Nyquist in 2014 in a pinhooking partnership with Jerry Dilger of Dromoland Fram and Ted Campion of Dundrum Farm. Costello claimed of Nyquist, "He was special from day one and believed his best performance would be around two turns." He was right. When they obtained the bay colt he was a leggy foal but began to improve physically. Costello noted, "Nyquist had a good attitude and a lot of presence."
When I asked Costello what the average person, who may not know much about the sport of horse racing, should know of this colt he remarked, "He's the Lebron James of horse racing. Nyquist is a top athlete and is composed even in front of 150,000 cheering spectators. He has a great mind and every time, he delivers." Costello also stated that even though he no longer owns Nyquist, this is a very special moment for him and his former partners. They're proud of what he has accomplished.
Last year Nyquist was sold at the Fasig-Tipton March sale for $400,000 to Dennis O'Neill on behalf of his brother, trainer Doug O'Neill for $400,000. He is now under Reddam Racing LLC and is preparing for the second leg of the Triple Crown. After hitting the main course at today Nyquist was scheduled to walk the shedrow this afternoon for about 30 minutes. He'll be resting in his stall leading up to race time on Saturday.
The prospect of a wet surface for tomorrow's race isn't concerning to O'Neill. He knows he will be tested in this competition, but he's always gone to the lead and no one has been able to catch him yet.