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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.

Baffert hoping Arrogate gives him third Dubai World Cup win

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Having taken over the mantle as the world’s best racehorse from California Chrome, Arrogate will attempt on Saturday to wear another crown that last fitted his illustrious American compatriot, the Dubai World Cup.

All eyes are on the 4-year-old Arrogate, who lost on debut 11 months ago but hasn’t lost since.

He’s won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup this year to stretch his unbeaten streak to six. In both races, Arrogate defeated Chrome, who won the Dubai World Cup last year at Meydan Racecourse by five lengths despite jockey Victor Espinoza hanging on to a loose saddle for most of it.

Under jockey Mike Smith, Arrogate has forged a winning combination in his last three Group 1 races: Travers Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup.

In Dubai, they have drawn stall nine among 14 contenders, a position which fails to douse the confidence of his trainer Bob Baffert.

“Nine is fine,” said Baffert, who also trained 2015 U.S. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“He’s settled in pretty well. As long as he shows up, that’s the key. If he runs his race, we know what he can do.”

Smith was all praise for his mount, ranked the No. 1 racehorse in the world.

“I have been blessed with some really, really good horses, but I am not sure I have ever sit on one like this,” Smith said.

“Everything about him, his disposition, his mechanics, the way he gets over the ground … at times you feel as if you are running downhill instead of a level ground. What amazes me most is when the race is over, it looks as if he did not put much effort into it. His recovery time is so quick.”

Arrogate’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup wins came over 2,000 meters on dirt, the same distance and conditions as the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Baffert hopes Arrogate can give him a third Dubai World Cup victory after Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001).

He suffered a heart attack during his last visit to Dubai in 2012, and watched the World Cup five nights later with stents in two of his blocked arteries. He also watched from even farther afield last year as his other horse, Hoppertunity, finished third behind Chrome and Mike de Kock’s Mubtaahij.

He’s giving Hoppertunity another chance.

“Both my horses are happy and healthy,” Baffert said. “He (Hoppertunity) should be collecting a check again. That is what he does, picks up the pieces in these big races. He reminds me of Pac-Man, he just keeps going. A Dubai World Cup 1-2, that would be something.”

Mubtaahij is also back, although he will start under Christophe Soumillon from the widest of stalls.

“Like everyone, we wanted low,” the Belgian jockey said. “I will have to … hope for some luck.”

The Dubai World Cup features a nine-race card offering $30 million across six Group 1 and three Group 2 races on turf and dirt.

Six three-year-olds nominated late to Triple Crown series

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thunder Snow, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas, is among six 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown series during the late nomination period.

The late nominees, which required a payment of $6,000 each, raise the total nominations to 425 for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The late nomination period closed Monday. The early nomination window closed in January and required a payment of $600.

Ireland-bred Thunder Snow, owned by Godolphin Racing, is set to run Saturday in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai. The colt has three wins in seven career starts for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The other late nominees are Hollywood Handsome, trained by Dallas Stewart; More Than Words, trained by Charlie LoPresti; Parlor, trained by Eddie Kenneally; Rapid Dial, trained by Ingrid Mason; and Stretch’s Stone, trained by Bruce Levine.

Thoroughbreds that weren’t nominated to the Triple Crown have one final chance by paying a supplemental fee. The fee for the Derby is $200,000; $150,000 for the Preakness; and $75,000 for the Belmont.