Two horses die on Preakness undercard

It will be a surprise if Cherry Wine doesn't run in the Belmont, where Exaggerator is headed if he comes back in good shape this morning.

Two horses died after running in races before Saturday's Preakness Stakes.

After losing to Nyquist in their previous four meetings, the 5-2 second betting choice broke through with a dominating performance at the racetrack where his jockey launched his Hall of Fame career almost 30 years ago and his trainer apprenticed under the late prominent trainer Charles Hadry.

Everything is back to normal in horse racing. We'll kind of figure this all out, watch some replays.

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

Despite the fog, the rain and an undefeated Kentucky Derby victor to contend with, Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux knew the best route to the Preakness winner's circle with Exaggerator - stay inside and wait. "The most important thing for this horse is his ability to recover quickly from his efforts. All these other jockeys realize it's a quagmire down the rail.' I was, like, 'What's he doing'".

The rider who started his career in Maryland, guided Exaggerator to a 3½-length victory over Cherry Wine in Saturday's $1.5 million Preakness, ending any chance for Triple Crown follow up after American Pharoah accomplished the rare feat a year ago. While their relationship has been more complex than fairy tale at times, their collective aptitude and horsemanship has never been doubted. "I'm in shock right now", Desormeaux said. "The one thing I'm probably proudest of is to win this with these two".

"Then I started worrying", Keith picked up, "why in the world is he so close to the lead approaching the far turn, we're already three or four lengths off".

Even the best of champions are not immune to an Achilles heel.

Nyquist, who had led nearly from the start, tied up towards the line, eventually finishing third behind Cherry Wine.

He proved in the Kentucky Derby that he had the stamina to sit off a fast pace and still finish with fire. But this day was all Exaggerator - no kidding.

A little too much speed was perhaps needed in too ample supply Saturday, however. As Kent Desormeaux got his mount out of post No. 5 and tucked into a ground-saving trip in eighth along the rail, 3-to-5 favorite Nyquist had Uncle Lino to his inside matching his every stride on the front end as they cut opening fractions of 22.38 and 46.56.

"Being eight-for-eight, we kept thinking this horse would never lose, but they all lose one time or another". "I was on the fence and they all stayed wide". It's going to take a while. He won the Santa Anita Derby over a sloppy track, and did the same on a foggy, rainy day.

Uncle Lino was not about to let Nyquist relax out in the front by himself, and he pushed Nyquist all the way to the turn for home when he momentarily stuck his head in front. Even if Nyquist does show up, there will be no need for the New York Racing Association to cap the crowd at 90,000 for the Belmont, as it did a year ago for American Pharoah. Nyquist was nosed out by Cherry Wine for runner-up honors.

"I looked at him, he looked at me and I got a fist pump", Kent said.

"I wanted to strangle him [when he went to the fence]", Keith said in the press conference, to which his brother cheekily replied: "Welcome to my house". From the three-eighths to quarter pole, I was actually slowing him down, asking him to wait. And I thought well, since I'm clear, I might as well throw some mud in their face and. I think there was a conscious decision on the training approach between the Derby and here.

Indeed, Exaggerator picked up his third career victory in the mud and knocked out what could have been a Triple Crown run. "We thought we had the best horse and wanted to ride him like the best horse and not try to get too cute and get ideal positioning".

"He was reported to have some inflammation between the top and the middle third of the superficial digital tendon, which is one of the major long flexor tendons that run behind the cannon bone", Latson said. "Hats off to Exaggerator and Team Desormeaux. Nyquist still ran a huge race". "Maybe we'll try again".