On Saturday, Nyquist won the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The undefeated Thoroughbred could be on his way to a Triple Crown, but only if he runs and wins the next two major races of the 2016 season. Next up, the Preakness Stakes will take place on Saturday, May 21, just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
The clear favorite, Nyquist won Saturday's Derby with a time of just over two minutes and one second, reinforcing the Derby's popular nickname as the "most exciting two minutes in sports." The Derby marked Nyqvist's eighth win in a career history of eight races. This undefeated record has the horse racing community abuzz with talk of a potential Triple Crown win, which requires a horse to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, which will take place in June.
Winning the Triple Crown is a rare feat, but not a completely foreign idea. Just last year, American Pharoah took home the title — the first horse in 37 years to do so. But if winning a Triple Crown is rare, then winning a Triple Crown the year after another horse is even rarer. Nyquist has a sort of horse racing dream team behind him, though. Owner J. Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O'Neill, and jockey Mario Gutierrez previously won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 2012 with I'll Have Another. Unfortunately, the horse couldn't run the Belmont Stakes due to tendonitis.
The Preakness is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races, although not by much. Horses complete a loop of nine and a half furlongs, or just shy of 1.2 miles. The Kentucky Derby, on the other hand, is 10 furlongs, or a mile and a quarter, long. Finally, the Belmont Stakes is the longest at 12 furlongs, or a mile and a half, long.
Held each year in Baltimore, Maryland, the Preakness takes place at Pimlico Race Course. Attendance tends to be slightly lower than the Kentucky Derby, as is the purse for prize winnings. In addition to horse racing, the Preakness is known for InfieldFest, a music festival that takes place on the inside of the racetrack. This year's event will feature performances by The Chainsmokers, All Time Low, and Fetty Wap.
Should everything go as planned, Nyquist will run at Pimlico with the weight of a potential Triple Crown win on his shoulders. It's a familiar spot for his team to be in, and the odds seem to be in his favor. Still, he could face tough competition from the Kentucky Derby's close finishers.