02/15/2016 7:43PM

Nyquist comes back firing to win San Vicente Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Nyquist and jockey Mario Gutierrez win the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths on Monday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Nyquist, last year’s champion 2-year-old male, showed Monday at Santa Anita that he will continue to be a force at age 3. He returned from a 3 1/2-month layoff and staved off a quality colt in Exaggerator to win the Grade 2, $200,000 San Vicente Stakes, remaining unbeaten after six starts and a top prospect for the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

There were no qualifying points toward the Derby in this seven-furlong race, but Nyquist ($2.80) made his point. Breaking from the rail, he battled with Sheikh of Sheikhs through fast fractions of 22.50 seconds for the opening quarter and 44.49 for the half – meaning the second quarter was run in 21.99 seconds – then safely held off a fresh challenge from Exaggerator to win by 1 1/2 lengths under Mario Gutierrez in 1:20.71 for seven furlongs.

The winning time was the fastest seven furlongs here since Masochistic won the Grade 1 Triple Bend last June 27 in 1:20.25.

Denman’s Call, like Nyquist trained by Doug O’Neill, finished 2 1/2 lengths farther back in third. Sheikh of Sheikhs was fourth, 11 1/4 lengths behind Nyquist, underscoring the quality of Nyquist’s race. El Charro trailed throughout in the five-horse field. Electrifying was scratched Monday morning.

“I’m so proud of this guy,” said O’Neill, who trains Nyquist, a colt by Uncle Mo, for owner Paul Reddam. “He just does what he has to do. He doesn’t overdo it.”

To be sure, Nyquist was placid in the paddock, looking like a seasoned pro. Exaggerator made an impressive appearance, too, looking like a powder keg. They both ran well, but Nyquist continued his mastery of Exaggerator. He has beaten him all three times they have faced one another.

“I’m so relieved,” O’Neill said. “I was confident going in, but we’ve all been in racing long enough to know that goofy things can happen. I’m so pumped, so happy, so proud.”

Nyquist completed a sensational 48 hours for O’Neill, Reddam, and Gutierrez, who combined to win the El Camino Real Derby on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields with Frank Conversation.

“Really good weekend,” Reddam said.

Nyquist was making his first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, in which he overcame a wide draw and a wide trip to prevail. He has now won four times in sprints and twice going 1 1/16 miles, and he’ll head back around two turns for his next start.

The most likely spot is the Florida Derby on April 2 at Gulfstream. It appeals to O’Neill because it is five weeks out from the Kentucky Derby, compared with four for the Santa Anita Derby. And it appeals to O’Neill and Reddam because Nyquist is eligible for a $1 million bonus if he can win that race since he was purchased out of the Fasig-Tipton sale of 2-year-olds in training last March.

But since no firm decision needs to be made just yet, O’Neill said he would “huddle up” with Reddam and his advisers – including O’Neill’s brother, Dennis, who was the agent for the Nyquist purchase – before committing.

These guys know how to head down the Derby trail. After winning it four years ago, they went back to the bar and said, I’ll Have Another.

 – additional reporting by Brad Free

Oddsonyourside More than 1 year ago
Way to Doug! Nyquist is in the best of hands! Another run for the Roses! Godspeed all the way for your team and Family.!
David Benning More than 1 year ago
I love this game, privman. My passion for the sport is as every bit as strong as yours, or anybody else's. But for too long you and the DRF have aided and abetted the cheaters instead of doing your duty to the sport. While I believe the sport is cleaner than it has ever been thanks to the recent efforts of individual track owners to crack down on the scofflaws that doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye to those who continue to make a mockery of it, like O'neil. This isn't sour grapes. I make my living from this game thanks to a skill in video analysis. But I refuse to be quiet when there are obvious cheaters in the game.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
So your a "trip" handicapper, it's not a new thing . . . it's a good tool. However, it you place wagers, (as I assume you do) then knowing who is cheating is a part of the process in making those wagers. Grow up, it's part of the game.
Mark W. More than 1 year ago
Bruce, are you serious. Cheating is never acceptable.
David Benning More than 1 year ago
I don't think I need to grow up, Bruce, I just happen to believe we need a no tolerance policy where cheaters are punished like they are felony law-breakers. I never claimed that how I achieve success is new or ground-breaking. I believe there are many ways to win in this game or to identify winners, each individual has to analyze what they do best. I am not a trip handicapper, per se, although analyzing trip is an important aspect to determining the ordinariness or extra-ordinariness of a given effort. The visual analysis I depend upon has to do with identifying equine athleticism or natural ability in lightly-raced horses. My main (but not sole) focus is on the lightly-raced because there is tremendous value to be had with these types of runners.
Straightbats More than 1 year ago
I think Exagerator was not stretched out Kent came by Nyquist rated the horse and stopped riding him out We're the stewards doing their job?
Paul Perrotta More than 1 year ago
Reasonably well said, David, and superbly direct and important. Highest marks for bringing this longstanding charade to print. The convenient, cowardly, practical rejection of honest journalism in the sport puts us a good 3 decades behind all mass market sports while making cynics of us and our betting artistry, too.
Alex Saudargas More than 1 year ago
I don't know what you were watching, but Nyquist galloped out powerfully, and with vigor, he didn't want to stop running. He will clearly get 10 furlongs, and leave Mohaymen in the dust. the "dosage" index means nothing with this horse. He is a Monster. Triple Crown in back to back years, here it comes, you can take that to the bank!
Frank More than 1 year ago
he will never win beyond a 1 1/16th just like his daddy -- you can purely see it in his running style... Funny how bettors realize that but the trainer and owner will still race him beyond -- could it be human greed and egotism taking over here?
Richard Holmes More than 1 year ago
Did you see his BC Juvenille win at 1 1/16 miles and the way he did it? He came from well out of it that day. I think he can win at 1 1/8 miles. I don't know if he can go 1 1/4 miles, but I think he can definitely get 1 1/8 miles. I don't know if that is his best distance but I think he can definitely get 1 1/8 miles. Your comment about greed and egotism is absurd. Here is a horse who won the BC Juvenille fairly easily at 1 1/16 miles. And at the time, he probably wasn't even at his best. He had already had a lot of hard races that year. So if he can win impressively, beating the best horses in the country going 1 /16 miles in the BC Juvenille, why would the connections or anyone else think that he has no shot to go further than that? That is ludicrous.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
No doubt the miracle trainers have their streaks. Right now Oneill is on fire like he followed Ponce de Leon to the fountain.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
kevin More than 1 year ago
As an observer who rarely bets California racing you make a good observation about the "streakiness"" of Oneill. He can go 1 for 40 and then go 6 for 9 rather quickly. It has been going on that way for years. A large part of modern handicapping(last 15 years) has been to ride these trainers when they get on a hot streak and avoid what the horse's form may be. As an aside, Nyquist is a very nice horse. We will see of a mile and a quarter will be within his range the first saturday in May. Breeding says one mile and a sixteenth is probable maximum but sometimes horses outrun pedigree. Take care Kevin M.
David Benning More than 1 year ago
apparently you can't say a trainer is cheating when he's been caught cheating MANY times in the past - if you deleted this privman, shame on you. I'll say it again. O'neil is a dirty cheater.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Speedy, Classy and Game....
redboy More than 1 year ago
More California speeeeeeeeeed !!!!!
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
He is the real deal. 40% return is pretty good.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
"Nearly a man alive, paid a bill at 3 to 5". Betting chalk and getting 40% return is not the same. I wonder if there was a negative show pool on him?