Group (Graded) racing makes it return this month with 3 races from Royal Ascot. Each will be a top level handicapped race with $70 up for grabs in each. Hurry and reserve your spot while there is still room in what is sure to be a competitive field.
See the Royal Ascot Racing Festival Schedule
The 2016 Preakness is just hours away and there doesn't look to be much value from a wagering perspective for this race. However, I am going to lay out a few brief reasons why you should bet it anyway and a prediction for the Belmont.
While Nyquist looks absolutely unbeatable in this spot on a fast track I am going to make a case for a wager that should generate some capital. I also think there is scenario that gets Nyquist beat on Saturday and it involves rain, a lot of it.
We don't really know how Nyquist will handle the rain and mud but we do know that Exaggarator took to it like a child, reveling in the joy of splashing through puddles and getting everyone else wet. I've never heard a jockey so glowingly describe the way a horse handled the slop the way Kent Desormeux did. He said "He was the fourth horse that I rode in the mud and the others felt like they had ice skates on. Exaggerator felt like he had track shoes on. He really liked the going and that was part of his incredible effort. He enjoyed the mud." Yes, Exaggerator has never beaten Nyquist in 4 attempts. He has also never faced him on the mud. The pattern on Exaggator's speed ratings are superb and not only did he not bounce from the big effort in the Santa Anita Derby, he improved from it. If he is going to bounce, this could be the spot, but I'm banking on another big effort as the horse continues to improve. He should benefit from Stradivari being getting the outside post draw where he will almost certainly use some speed early and engage Nyquist up front.
Dry Track: Nyquist, Exaggerator, Stradivari in that order.
Wet Track: Exaggerator, Nyquist, Collected, Lani for a super.
Now the Belmont Stakes
I don't think there is any way Nyquist will be able to complete the triple crown this year and that's a shame for him as he's a great horse who hasn't gotten the respect he deserves because of the herculean efforts of California Chrome and American Pharoah before him. He's going to face some fresh horses who are bred for the distance and will be sitting on monster efforts and I just don't think he has the pedigree to handle that. There is a chance that Cupid shows back up for the Belmont fresh off throat surgery. I've heard it's the same procedure Frosted went through and he hit a whole new level when he came back from it and I expect Cupid will as well. Then you have Exaggerator who, if he doesn't do it Saturday, is certain to be able to put Nyquist away as they pass the 1/8 pole coming for home in the Belmont. The old adage that closers don't win the Belmont is fine but one of these stamina laden horses is going to make a move on the sweeping turn of Belmont and draw level with Nyquist who simply doesn't have the stamina to sustain that kind of challenge for the length of that seemingly eternal stretch.