The top two finishers in the Kentucky Derby are on track for a rematch in the Preakness Stakes after pulling up well from the race.
The winner Nyquist could not be doing better, his trainer Doug O’Neill said after checking the colt in the early hours of Sunday (Monday AEST).
“He’s doing great,” O’Neill said. “He had his head out over the webbing, looking bright eyed.”
O’Neill said the unbeaten Nyquist, now 8-0, would head to Maryland this week for the second leg of the Triple Crown on May 21 at Pimilico in Baltimore.
Exaggerator’s trainer Keith Desormeaux said he was looking forward to having another crack at Nyquist at the Preakness.
Nyquist recorded a relatively comfortable victory by 1-1/4 lengths at Churchill Downs, but Exaggerator closed strongly near the end.
And who knows how close it might have been had Exaggerator, according to his jockey, not been checked rounding the final turn.
“My horse slammed on the brakes, ducked back to the inside and then took off,” Kent Desormeaux said.
Nyquist started the Derby as the 2-1 favourite, with Exaggerator second pick.
There have been 12 Triple Crown winners, most recently American Pharoah who ended a Triple Crown drought stretching back to 1978 last year.
The 1-1/4 mile (2000m) Kentucky Derby was the longest race of Nyquist’s career but he will come back in distance slightly for the Preakness, which is run over 1-3/16.