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Nyquist and Exaggerator Dominate Odds to Win Preakness Stakes

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Nyquist will be looking to become the third straight Kentucky Derby winner to race to victory at the Preakness Stakes when he hits the track on Saturday as a strong -175 betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

After claiming a 1 1/4-length victory at this year’s Kentucky Derby, paying out as +225 chalk, Nyquist remains undefeated in eight races ahead of Saturday afternoon’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

The Canadian-owned colt will start from Post 3 in a reduced field of 11 featuring just three horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.

Nyquist raced to victory at Churchill Downs after drawing the 13 Post, two positions over from Exaggerator, who finished second while sporting +800 odds.

Exaggerator has drawn Post 5 for Saturday’s race, and once again represents Nyquist’s closest competition on the Preakness Stakes odds, perched at +375 at the sportsbooks. The Keith Desormeaux-trained colt has been busy since making his debut last June, winning four of his 10 career races, including a dominating performance en route to a victory at the Santa Anita Derby as +400 chalk.

The Preakness Stakes marks the fourth head-to-head battle between the two favorites, with Exaggerator also finishing second in the San Vicente Stakes, and a disappointing fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Stradivari, a Todd Pletcher-trained Colt, makes just his third career start at Pimlico after claiming victory in his last outing in a Keeneland allowance race last month, and rounds out the front of the betting pack with +800 odds.

The remaining eight horses in the field all sport double-digit odds, led by Collected at +1600.

Collected starts from Post 7 in his first career Grade I race after picking up four wins in five races against Grade III competition, including victories in the Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes and the Lexington Stakes, both at Keeneland.

Cherry Wine makes his first appearance since finishing third in the Blue Grass Stakes, and will start on the rail sporting +2500 odds.

Uncle Lino, starting from Post 2, and Awesome Speed, who owns Post 4, are next on the Preakness Stakes odds, deadlocked at +3300, while Lani, a ninth-place finisher in his first North American start at the Kentucky Derby, trails as a distant +4000 longshot.

Lani is joined at the bottom of the odds by Fellowship, Laoban, and Abiding Star, who is undefeated in his last four starts, but has yet to compete in a race longer than 1-1/16 miles.

Irap wins Indiana Derby; AJ Foyt’s horse finishes 2nd

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SHELBYVILLE, Ind. — Irap won the $500,000 Indiana Derby by five lengths over Colonelsdarkemper, owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt.

Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Irap ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.21 on Saturday night at Indiana Grand. He paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60 in the Grade 3 race for 3-year-olds. Irap is trained by Southern California-based Doug O’Neill.

Colonelsdarktemper returned $9.60 and $5.80, while Untrapped was another length back in third and paid $2.80 to show.

Foyt is in Toronto for this weekend’s IndyCar race, so he sent grandson A.J. Foyt IV to the track outside Indianapolis.

“He’s always shown a lot of heart and he showed it tonight,” the younger Foyt said about the colt. “He ran a great race.”

The younger Foyt works in the Indianapolis Colts’ front office. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, where his father Tony trained horses.

“Horse racing holds a special place in my heart, and I’m glad my grandfather still has it going on,” A.J. IV said.

Smith aboard Songbird cruises to victory in Delaware Handicap

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STANTON, Del. — Songbird turned back a determined challenge from Martini Glass through the stretch to win the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap by a length Saturday.

The 1-9 favorite covered 10 furlongs in 2:03.96 to earn her 13th win in 14 career races and raise her career earnings past $4.5 million.

With regular rider Mike Smith aboard, Songbird went right to the front at start of 1 1/4-mile fixture and set moderate fractions but never was able to shake Martini Glass and jockey Jose Ferrer.

After Martini Glass ranged to the outside, Smith was forced to go a stiff left-hand stick through the final furlong.

Line of Best Fit finished third, two lengths behind Martini Glass.

Songbird owner Rick Porter, who’s battling cancer, was among those in attendance at Delaware Park.

Songbird paid $2.10 across the board.