This horse is a beast...he has been on another planet than his competition in the last two races.
Thanks for sharing such a fantastic story!
Fusaichi Pegasus was the Derby favorite and the first favorite to win the Derby since Spectacular Bid. You can look up the chart by searching his name on Equibase.
Exaggerator has had his shot at Nyquist four times with no excuse for his lack of success. He had a better pace setup than Nyquist in the Derby and still couldn't get him. So, yes, him beating Nyquist would surprise me.
Actually Red Bullet skipped the Derby to point for the Preakness - which seemed like such a strange decision at Derby time but clearly paid off (I guess Stronach wanted to win the big race at his track?).
"He's tractable, didn't benefit from a speed bias in his wins, has finished strong at 1 1/8 miles" <-Those are all things that are still true about him regardless of who finished 10+ lengths behind him in those races. Often horses stepping up in class are exposed because the pace or distance of the race turns out to be faster/further than they can handle, but the pace scenario and distance of his last race are comparable to what he will encounter in the Preakness. I agree he is stepping up in class significantly, I'm just saying so far he's given signs that he may be able to handle it. Almost every other horse in the field has lost to Nyquist repeatedly without excuse or hasn't been good enough to even face him. So do I think it's likely Stradivari will beat Nyquist? No. But I do think he is the most likely of the Preakness runners to beat Nyquist and the only one with significant upside.
Stradivari looks a lot more like a Bernardini/Big Brown/Bellamy Road type to me than a Social Inclusion. He's tractable, didn't benefit from a speed bias in his wins, has finished strong at 1 1/8 miles, has a better trainer (not that Pletcher is my favorite), and has managed to string 2 big route performances together. Of course stepping up in class is a question but the fact that he doesn't need the lead means catching a faster pace in a higher quality of race won't necessarily hurt him like it would a confirmed frontrunner like Social Inclusion.
The thing is that most "new shooters" are lower-tier Derby trail also rans who didn't get enough points/GSE to be in the Derby, sprinters who find 1 3/16 about just as tough as 1 1/4, or horses who are blooming so late they were never even on the Derby trail and have won some minor preps but not shown anything special. In the cases mentioned below where new shooters did win, Rachel, Red Bullet, and Bernardini don't fit this profile (I don't know enough about Codex or DT). Rachel was clearly the best 3yo in the country, Red Bullet had good form vs. the Derby winner and runner-up and had been held out of a Derby he could have entered specifically to target the Preakness, and Bernardini had already shown hints that he was an elite 3yo who just hadn't yet been given a G1 shot. I would say that of the new shooters this year, all of them except Stradivari fit the typical mold of not-good-enough-for-the-Derby mentioned above, while Stradivari definitely seems to share a lot of similarities with Bernardini.
So you're saying one of less than a handful of sub-2:00 1 1/4 mile races in the last decade was "tremendously over valued?" I won't stop you, I just think it's ridiculous. And for the record I can't remember anyone who said GoD's 10-length Pacific Classic win was not mighty impressive.
How will running in a race she should win easily (or maybe, god forbid, have to run a little bit to win) ruin her? She's a race horse, not a china doll.
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