Everything's coming up Nyquist. The 2016 Kentucky Derby champion is favored over the field at this Saturday's Preakness Stakes (6:18 PM ET, NBC), and that field has turned out to be a little softer than expected. Only 10 other horses were entered for Wednesday's post-position draw; as a result, Nyquist's Preakness odds have improved 4/7 on the futures market at press time.

However, the smaller field at Pimlico Racecourse also benefits the two horses with the best chance to stop Nyquist. Exaggerator, who finished second at the Kentucky Derby, have improved from 9/2 to 15/4. And Stradivari, the wild-card “shooter” who was available at 12/1 less than two weeks ago, has shortened to 8/1.
 

Unregistered Gun

With a maximum field of 14 horses, the Preakness was bound to be less of a challenge for Nyquist than the Derby was. But things got a little easier on Tuesday when trainer Steve Asmussen decided to pull Gun Runner out of contention. Gun Runner, who finished third at Churchill Downs, was the fourth favorite on the Preakness futures market at 10/1 before Asmussen made the call.

That leaves Collected (16/1) as the only other horse being given a serious chance to upset Nyquist on Saturday. The Bob Baffert-trained colt didn't have enough points to qualify for the Derby, but he did win three of four races this year: the Grade 3 Sham Stakes, the ungraded Sunland Park Festival of Racing, and the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes. Collected was a 25/1 outsider before Gun Runner was taken off the list of possible entries.
 

Mud Mode

It's not all sunshine and black-eyed susans for Nyquist. Rain started falling at Pimlico on Tuesday, and Saturday's forecast calls for more rain, perhaps getting heavy at times. This should benefit Exaggerator, who took down the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby last month in sloppy conditions. His supporters were hoping for more of the same at the Kentucky Derby before the clouds parted and the track started firming up.

Otherwise, the Preakness is shaping up very well for the prohibitive favorite. Nyquist drew the No. 3 post on Wednesday, which pleased trainer Doug O'Neill. Exaggerator will be nearby, breaking from the 5-hole, and Stradivari will be on the outside in Post 11. Baffert seemed content with Collected drawing Post 7, citing the horse's speed and the expected muddy conditions as positives.

Here's the complete field of 11 horses at Saturday's Preakness Stakes, listed in order of post position, with jockeys and odds at press time included:
 

Post

Horse

Jockey

Odds

1

Cherry Wine

C. Lanarie

25/1

2

Uncle Lino

F. Perez

33/1

3

Nyquist

M. Gutierrez

4/7

4

Awesome Speed

J. Toledo

33/1

5

Exaggerator

K. Desormeaux

15/4

6

Lani

Y. Take

40/1

7

Collected

J. Castellano

16/1

8

Laoban

F. Geroux

40/1

9

Abiding Star

J. Acosta

40/1

10

Fellowship

J. Lezcano

40/1

11

Stradivari

J. Velazquez

8/1

 

*Odds as of May 19, 2016