05/09/2016 12:46PM

Connections have tried to keep Nyquist fresh

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Barbara D. Livingston
Nyquist entered the Kentucky Derby with only two preps this year.

About six weeks ago, just a few days before the Florida Derby, owner Paul Reddam said during a lengthy telephone conversation that if Nyquist could get through that race and the Kentucky Derby as he and trainer Doug O’Neill hoped, they believed they’d have a far fresher horse for the Triple Crown than they did four years ago with their 2012 Derby winner, I’ll Have Another.

They had come to theorize that the hard training demanded of I’ll Have Another, which resulted in victories in the Derby and Preakness, might have taken its toll by the Belmont, from which I’ll Have Another was scratched with a career-ending injury on the eve of the race.

“We’ll never know for sure,” Reddam said.

But he and O’Neill thought they didn’t need to find out again with Nyquist, who they believe is superior to the rest of this year’s 3-year-old crop. They wanted a horse who not only could win the Derby but be better prepared to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown. And so Nyquist has not been put to the same demands every morning as was I’ll Have Another.

After Nyquist’s victory Saturday in the Kentucky Derby, they are one step – a very big step – closer to fully realizing a plan they hatched after Nyquist won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Nyquist won the Derby off just two preps this year, a sprint and a route, and on Monday headed to Baltimore as the overwhelming favorite to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 21.

Of the 19 horses who ran against Nyquist on Saturday, only Derby runner-up Exaggerator is certain to try him again. Gun Runner (who was third), Suddenbreakingnews (fifth), and Lani (ninth) are possible but far from definite.

The remainder of those definitely in at this point are horses who bypassed the Derby by choice of their connections, or were excluded based on points. Cherry Wine and Laoban, third and fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes, were on the also-eligible list for the Derby but did not scratch into the race. Awesome Speed, Collected, Fellowship, Stradivari, and Uncle Lino all were kept out of the Derby to await the Preakness.

Fellowship ran on the Derby undercard, finishing fourth in the Pat Day Mile to Sharp Azteca, who is another possibility for the Preakness. Dazzling Gem is also possible, according to trainer Brad Cox, who said he'd run in the Preakness or the Sir Barton on the Preakness undercard depending on "who shows up for the Preakness."

That brings to 14 the number of horses under consideration for the Preakness, with the likely field shaping up as smaller. A maximum of 14 horses can run in the Preakness. Entries are taken and posts drawn May 18.

Nyquist is now unbeaten in eight starts. As with I’ll Have Another, he headed to Pimlico just 48 hours after the Derby. Leandro Mora, O’Neill’s top assistant, said it was unlikely that Nyquist would have a workout there.

“He just needs light training. He’s way fit,” Mora said. “I don’t think we need to push it too much.”

“He gallops with a lot of energy,” O’Neill said. “And then we give him one day of jog and time to recover.”

O’Neill said Nyquist “hasn’t had a lot of long gallops, hasn’t had a lot of speed work.”

“Great horses you can train 100 different ways, and they win despite you,” he said. “I’ll Have Another we’d do open gallops on a daily basis. This guy has a good open gallop maybe once a week. Less maintenance. We give him time to recover from stamina-type works.”

Prior to the Derby, Nyquist had his final workout at Keeneland eight days from the race on April 29, going a mile. He did not gallop again until May 3 at Churchill Downs and then galloped May 5, when exercise rider Jonny Garcia – an integral part of Nyquist’s development – let him go at about a two-minute clip through the lane.

“In 2012,” O’Neill said, referring to I’ll Have Another, “he galloped like a train every day. I thought that was the way to win classic races, that’s what you had to do. It did work for him. But his career was short. And whether or not it had anything to do with it, I don’t know. But we are doing things differently with Nyquist. And it seems like things are staying colder and tighter longer.”

– additional reporting by David Grening

Potential Preakness Starters
Horse Trainer Jockey Last Race, Finish
Awesome Speed Alan Goldberg Jevian Toledo Federico Tesio, 1st
Cherry Wine Dale Romans Corey Lanerie Blue Grass, 3rd
Collected Bob Baffert Javier Castellano Lexington, 1st
Dazzling Gem Brad Cox undecided Ark. Derby, 4th
Exaggerator Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux Ky. Derby, 2nd
Fellowship Mark Casse Jose Lezcano Pat Day Mile, 4th
Gun Runner Steve Asmussen Florent Geroux Ky. Derby, 3rd
Lani Mikio Matsunaga Yutaka Take Ky. Derby, 9th
Laoban Eric Guillot undecided Blue Grass, 4th
Nyquist Doug O'Neill Mario Gutierrez Ky. Derby, 1st
Sharp Azteca Jorge Navarro Edgard Zayas Pat Day Mile, 1st
Stradivari Todd Pletcher John Velazquez Kee. alw., 1st
Suddenbreakingnews Donnie Von Hemel Luis Quinonez Ky. Derby, 5th
Uncle Lino Gary Sherlock Fernando Perez Ca. Chrome, 1st

 

RaceTote More than 1 year ago
I meant "two hundred million dollars".
RaceTote More than 1 year ago
Nyquust could be worth Two hundred dollarsor more, if he wins the triple crown and produces a successful first and second crop.
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
already reported Nyquist will stand stud at Darley in Lexington after race career over. JP Reddam  puts multi millions into the industry every year so when he sold I'll have another, it was a good business move as I think hearing 15 million helps carry the barn for a bit. The industry needs owners like JPR that put their money up. This is the " Sport of Kings"  and at least JPR has a blast with it and takes a lot of people including the public on a fun ride..... again
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
The last two shock wave horses (have another, firing line), both ran in the derby and preakness.  Both got hurt and didnt run after that.  Is this going to effect nyquist ?  The no lasix lani should handle the short recovery time better than the other derby and pat day mile horses.  The dubai horses need a prep race before the derby.  No lasix horses perform better without layoffs.
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
Where has it been reported that Nyquist has received shock wave? He doesn't have the same issues as IHA, didn't you READ the article?
It is refreshing to hear a trainer say he learned from the past experiences and is customizing his methods to fit the individual, rather than the usual cookie-cutter methods employed by others.
George Cherian More than 1 year ago
Mr. Reddam is a business man not a horseman. So no surprise that he sold 'I have another' to Japanese for the highest price before Belmont Stakes. It is difficult to believe the injury story. He may do the same with Nyquist, if he gets the money. 
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
I don't think so - they mapped out this light prep schedule long ago and are shooting for the whole thing this time. I am certain it was heartbreaking to be so close and then to see another accomplish the task.
Charles Sanford More than 1 year ago
Mario put him where he wanted him to be......and went to the wire ....it was just like that , the horse passed gun runner and the rest is history....and then there was exaggerator....that horse wasn't even tired , he could have went out to dinner and stopped and talked to some honeys on the way back to the barn.....I wonder what records are going to be broken , if Mario ever have to get to the bottom of this horse ?
Vic Stauffer More than 1 year ago
I particularly made it a point watch the gallop out and walking back for fatigue. I thought he looked VERY tired. But it had the feel of I left everything I had on the racetrack. Which is never bad, unless your name is Rachel Alexandra. IMO Mario smartly took his time bringing him back to let the champ try to catch his wind. Seriously doubt that will impact his chances in the Preakness. But something to consider. 
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
suddenbreakingnews should be pointed to the BS - and ONLY the BS. 
Stuart Hill More than 1 year ago
SBN won't get the same pace he got to run at in the last 2 Derbies he was in (the Kentucky and Ark). So, perhaps he can grind his way to challenge by the stretch. One thing is for sure, Slew...he is losing some ground to close into in Baltimore so they should focus on the Belmont Stakes. The Preakness will feature a very fit and tactical Nyquist. Enoug said -vicstu
Ron Beal More than 1 year ago
While his blood lines may shout 'Belmont', unfortunately, his running style does not. 'Come from the clouds' runners do get up to win there at 12f  now and then, but it requires the aid of a jockey a bit more astute at judging pace than Mr Quinonez has shown himself to be. The 9.5 furlongs of the Preakness is plenty long enough for SBN to show his stuff, but his position relative to the pace is critical. I love the horse. I just have serious doubts his jockey will negotiate a trip good enough to give him a real shot.  
Mark More than 1 year ago
Why?  Oh because you think a closer wins the Belmont?  You will have to go back to the 1960's to find stone cold closers winning the Belmont.  This is such a trap that players fall into that they think because a horse was closing in the Derby(running past dead wood by the way) that they will be viable in the Belmont.  Good luck.
Alex Saudargas More than 1 year ago
Nyquist will face about the same fast  pace scenario as the KD, and you cam expect the same result except his winning margin will be a few more lengths. He will dominate...
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
congrats Nyquist & team, on schedule great luck the rest of the way
Dahorsecapper More than 1 year ago
The big question is : Is he for sale ? Will Nyquist be sold to the highest bidder ? Will he be sold to Japan ? Could the Belmont or Preakness be the last we here or see of him ?
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
if your paying attention it was already announced he's standing at Darley farms Lexington Kentucky,
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
Why use Google when he has us?