© Benoit Photo
No trainer has more experience trying to beat the unbeaten Nyquist than Keith Desormeaux. The California-based trainer has seen his horses finish second to Nyquist on six occasions, including twice with Exaggerator, who finished second-best to Nyquist in both the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) and Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Desormeaux and Exaggerator will tackle Nyquist again in the May 21st Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico, but Desormeaux knows that turning the tables will be a tough task.
“After the San Vicente, when Nyquist set the pace and went a half in 44 and still outran Exaggerator, who is a nice horse, how can you not have a ton of respect for him?,” Desormeaux was quoted as saying in the Santa Anita Stable Notes. “Then he goes and beats the undefeated East Coast horse (Mohaymen in the Florida Derby). Nyquist should have been 2-5 in the Kentucky Derby in my book. I think one reason he wasn’t given credit is because people want to find excuses to build their own confidence even though the facts are staring them in the face. They still want to support their favorite horse. A lot of it is fan-oriented, or betting-oriented, I guess.”
Desormeaux also shared his thoughts on Exaggerator’s strategy for the Preakness Stakes.
“I haven’t really done a lot of homework on the race yet, but I don’t think the shorter distance will affect our style much, plus that’s up to Kent (Desormeaux, Keith’s younger brother and Exaggerator’s regular rider),” Keith said. “It’s all about a judge of pace. It doesn’t matter if the race is shorter, longer, whatever. It’s a matter of getting your horse comfortable. If he’s comfortable five lengths off the leader, I’m happy with that.”
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