There won't be a Triple Crown champion this year. Exaggerator made sure of that on Saturday, winning the 2016 Preakness Stakes by 3 ½ lengths and ending Nyquist's undefeated streak at eight races. Nyquist was a 4/7 favorite on race day, having won the Kentucky Derby in impressive fashion, but Exaggerator (15/4) took advantage of the very sloppy conditions at Pimlico and pulled off the upset.

It wasn't just the rain that helped Exaggerator's cause. Nyquist found himself battling Uncle Lino for the early lead, and ended up fading down the stretch, finishing a nose behind Cherry Wine for third place. Exaggerator, on the other hand, ran a more tactically sound race than he did at the Derby, as jockey Kent Desormeaux stayed closer to the pack and timed his closing run perfectly to catch up with the tiring Nyquist.

Fever Pitch

While the Triple Crown is no longer on the table, this year's Belmont Stakes is still shaping up to be a very interesting race. Nyquist and Exaggerator have already been pointed toward Belmont Park for June 11, although trainer Doug O'Neill has delayed Nyquist's trip to New York because of a “slightly elevated temperature.” Results of his blood work are pending at press time. Exaggerator is scheduled to make the trip sometime later this week.

Early odds for the 2016 Belmont Stakes will be available on the futures market once more information is available, but these two horses could be neck-and-neck at the top of the list. Nyquist had beaten Exaggerator in their previous four races before the Preakness; while the rain at Pimlico definitely helped Exaggerator's cause, he might not need any extra help to beat Nyquist at Belmont Park.

Going the Distance

There are many reasons why it's so difficult for thoroughbreds to win the Triple Crown, but the biggest reason has to be the 1 ½ miles they have to travel around Belmont. That's 12 furlongs, two furlongs more than the Kentucky Derby and 2.5 more than the Preakness. North American horses aren't used to running that far, not in modern-day racing.

That puts even more emphasis on stamina when you look at a horse's bloodlines. Exaggerator figures to have at least some advantage here; his family tree is built mostly on speed, but his sire, the amazing Curlin, nearly won both the Preakness and the Belmont in 2007, losing the latter race in a photo finish with Rags to Riches. Nyquist has even less stamina in his profile, although sire Uncle Mo never really got tested at long distance during his career. Perhaps a third horse will prevail at the Belmont in three weeks. Stay tuned for more information on the possible contenders as it becomes available.