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.

Irad Ortiz sets single-season record with 77th stakes win

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NEW YORK – Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned his record 77th single-season North American stakes victory when he guided Dr B to victory in the $200,000 Go for Wand at Aqueduct.

The 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico broke the old mark of 76 set by the late Hall of Fame rider Garrett Gomez in 2007.

“This is great. Amazing feeling,” said Ortiz, Jr., who won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey from 2018-20. “Gomez did it in 2007 and he was a great rider, one of the best in the game. I’m so happy just to be a part of this. I love this sport.”

Ortiz Jr. won the Belmont Stakes with Mo Donegal in June to go with Breeders’ Cup victories in the Juvenile, Filly & Mare Sprint and Sprint. He also earned nine other Grade 1 wins in New York, including Life Is Good in the Woodward and Whitney and Nest in the Alabama and Coaching Club Oaks. He won riding titles at Belmont’s spring-summer meet and Saratoga’s summer meet.

Ortiz Jr. leads North American riders with 304 overall victories this year. His purse earnings totaled over $35.8 million going into Saturday’s races, which already surpassed his single-season record of $34.1 million in 2019.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”