05/19/2016 12:20PM

Nyquist, Collected eye up each other

Kim Pratt
Nyquist (right), under Jonny Garcia, and Collected, with Jorge Alvarez aboard, get to know each other while training at Pimlico on Thursday.

BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist’s final gallop before Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes got a little interesting Thursday morning when one of his rivals – the Bob Baffert-trained Collected – got a little too close for comfort.

Nyquist was scheduled to gallop a strong mile Thursday, going at what is known as a two-minute clip – each eighth at approximately 15 seconds.

Nyquist was going to start at the six-furlong pole. As Nyquist was getting moving under exercise rider Jonny Garcia, Collected, under Jorge Alvarez, came up along the inside. Nyquist got a little tough, forcing Garcia to take a bit of a hold.

After a few strides, Alvarez eased Collected back and maneuvered him outside, a few paths away from Nyquist.

When Collected first came up inside Nyquist, Garcia “gave me a dirty look,” said Alvarez, who was the exercise rider for 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. “He asked me to back off. I’ve been in that situation before. We’re rivals, but you have to be a gentleman. I helped him out. I backed off, and he went on.”

Alvarez said he thought Nyquist got aggressive when Collected was in front of him, but that Nyquist got better when he let him go.

Garcia declined comment.

Coming to the top of the stretch, Garcia was seen looking behind him a couple of times to locate Collected, who was basically finishing up his gallop by the time Nyquist came into the stretch. From the quarter pole to the wire, Nyquist went in 28.91 seconds and then went another eighth of a mile in 13.80 seconds, for a three-furlong gallop in 42.71 seconds.

Trainer Doug O’Neill and owners Paul and Zillah Reddam watched the training session from the porch on the press-box level. When O’Neill was asked about Alvarez keeping Collected in close proximity, he said: “That’s okay, he can gig at him all he wants. We’ll be okay.”

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Nyquist was expected to jog on Friday. He is not expected to train Saturday morning.

A horse got loose on the track just moments after Nyquist came on following the renovation break. The loose horse never got near Nyquist, who stood at the quarter pole alongside a stable pony, and he was apprehended by the outrider. Nyquist then continued on his way, backing up to the seven-furlong pole.

Also on track following the renovation break was Cherry Wine, who visited the starting gate and then found himself galloping alongside Collected before those two caught up with Nyquist at the end of the clubhouse turn. Cherry Wine had completed his exercise before Nyquist and Collected got into their game.

– additional reporting by Jay Privman