THE BELMONT STAKES is a unique race, 440 yards longer than the Kentucky Derby, 550 yards longer than the Preakness and run over America's only mile-and-a-half racetrack at Belmont Park. It is also very counterintuitive. One would think a mile-and-a-half race would favor horses coming from far back with the last run. One would be wrong.
BALTIMORE - When a really good horse wins the Kentucky Derby, that horse rarely loses the Preakness. See American Pharoah, California Chrome, Big Brown and Smarty Jones, as examples this century. I wasn't ready to put Nyquist in their class before the Derby. I am now.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It was 100 minutes after Nyquist had crossed the Kentucky Derby finish line alone when the lights went out in the Derby museum Saturday night, Doug O'Neill put his right arm around wife, Linette, and everybody in the crowd looked up at the 360-degree screen to watch The Greatest Race.
When you are wrong, you are wrong. I was wrong about Nyquist. Not only did none of his contemporaries pass the champ; the champ got better. That he also happens to be running against a really weak bunch of 3-year-olds has put me firmly in the Nyquist camp for Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
Dick Jerardi specializes in college basketball and horse racing. He has covered every Triple Crown race since 1987 and every NCAA Tournament since 1988, in addition to chronicling the careers of two National College Basketball Players of the Year, La Salle's Lionel Simmons (1990) and St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson (2004). He’s also covered many major events, including the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and 2001 NBA Finals.