Exaggerator wins Preakness Stakes, upsets Nyquist

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BALTIMORE — Finally, Exaggerator has beaten Nyquist, and it came in the Preakness on Saturday to end any chance of another Triple Crown.

Seizing the lead at the top of the stretch, Exaggerator splashed past a tiring Nyquist and went on for a 3 1/2-length victory over Cherry Wine on a rain-drenched Pimlico Race Course.

Exaggerator’s elusive victory over his nemesis came after four tough losses, including a runner-up finish to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby.

Nyquist was sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the 11-horse field, and dueled with Uncle Lino for the lead through the first mile of the 1 3/16th-mile second leg of the Triple Crown.

And then it was all Exaggerator – no kidding.

The 3-year-old colt kept gaining ground along the rail. Jockey Kent Desormeaux saw an opening around the final turn, angled outside and Exaggerator took over.

Nyquist, with Mario Gutierrez aboard finished third, followed by Stradivari, Lani, Laoban, Uncle Lino, Fellowship, Awesome Speed, Collected and Abiding Star.

Winning time for the race was 1:58.31.

Trained by Kent’s younger brother, Keith, Exaggerator showed his talent in the slop once again. He won the Santa Anita Derby over a sloppy track, and did the same in the Preakness. It was the first Preakness winner for the trainer who began his career in Maryland, and third for the Hall of Fame rider.

The crowd was estimated at a record 134,000.

2017 Kentucky Derby: Mike Tirico succeeds Tom Hammond

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STAMFORD, Conn. – Mike Tirico, who was recently named NBC’s primetime Olympics host, will be taking the Triple Crown hosting reins from Tom Hammond, an award-winning member of NBC Sports’ horse racing team for more than three decades.

Tune in to watch live coverage of the 2017 Kentucky Derby at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 6, on NBC.

“NBC Sports is the home to the world’s premier horse racing, due in no small part to Tom’s passion, knowledge and relationships in the sport,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman NBC Broadcasting and Sports. “We are pleased that Tom is going to remain part of the NBC family and that we have someone of Mike’s caliber to succeed him on horse racing.”

Next week on NBCSN, Hammond will host the special 30-minute My Kentucky Home, in which he takes a look at how Kentucky came to be the home of thoroughbred racing. Hammond, who has covered a dozen Olympics, will return to NBC Olympics’ coverage at the 2018 PyeongChang Games next February.

Tirico, making his first-ever trip to a Triple Crown event, joins NBC Sports Group’s Triple Crown coverage beginning with the 2017 Kentucky Derby on May 6 on NBC, and will work the Preakness Stakes on May 20, and the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

“Tom’s professionalism, presence and passion for the sport enhanced Triple Crown viewing for so many of us over the years,” said Tirico, who made his TV horse racing debut alongside Hammond last fall on NBC’s coverage of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. “He perfectly set the tone and in the process set the standard for this role.  I’m honored to follow a legend and cherish the chance to work with our great team.”

Hammond’s TV horse racing debut came in 1984, when he was hired on what was intended to be a one-time-only basis as a reporter for NBC’s telecast of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Ever since that Eclipse Award-winning telecast, Hammond has been integral on a wide-range of NBC Sports events, highlighted by horse racing – covering his home-state Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes 16 times apiece, and 11 Belmont Stakes, including American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown victory in 2015. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and honored as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Kentucky, where he earned bachelor’s degree in animal science and studied equine genetics as a graduate student, Hammond has also anchored NBC’s Breeders’ Cup coverage over the past 30+ years.

“I had a great time putting together My Kentucky Home, and I hope viewers will understand why I think this is a special place,” Hammond said. “As I embark on a less demanding schedule at NBC, I can rest assured that the coverage of Thoroughbred racing is in good hands. That sport is very close to my heart, so I am pleased that Mike, a highly accomplished professional, will assume the role as leader of the superb NBC horse racing team. I wish them all the best going forward.”

Hammond’s 30-minute My Kentucky Home special will debut on NBCSN next Wednesday, May 3 at 12:30 a.m. ET following Tuesday night’s St. Louis-Nashville Stanley Cup Playoff game. The special will encore on NBCSN on Wednesday, May 3 at 5 p.m. ET, Thursday, May 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET and on Friday May 5 within NBCSN’s live Kentucky Oaks coverage and following that evening’s Stanley Cup Playoff game.

Jockeys Castellano, Espinoza, Gomez, throughbred Goldikova elected to HOF

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) Jockeys Javier Castellano, Victor Espinoza and Garrett Gomez and thoroughbred Goldikova have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

The 39-year-old Castellano has won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey the past four years. Entering the week, he had 4,664 career wins and was ranked fifth all-time in purse earnings, with more than $276 million.

The 44-year-old Espinoza had 3,318 wins entering the week, with purse earnings of more than $193 million, which ranks him 17th all-time. He won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 2015 aboard American Pharoah.

Gomez, who died last year, won 3,769 races, with purse earnings of more than $205 million to rank 14th all-time.

Goldikova posted a career record of 17-6-3 from 27 starts to earn $7,176,551. The filly is the only three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner (2008-10).

The induction ceremony is Aug. 4 in Saratoga Springs, New York.