05/04/2016 6:28PM

Nyquist draws post 13, favored at 3-1 in Kentucky Derby

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Barbara D. Livingston
Nyquist enters the Kentucky Derby off a win in the Florida Derby that pushed his record to 7 for 7.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Gustav Nyquist wears No. 14 for the Detroit Red Wings, but his namesake will be No. 13 on Saturday when Nyquist starts as the favorite in the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Nyquist, undefeated in seven starts, landed post 13 on Wednesday night when posts were drawn in the Aristides Lounge at Churchill Downs.

Nyquist usually races on or near the lead, and much of the other anticipated speed in the race landed outside stalls. Mohaymen is right alongside Nyquist in 14, Outwork has 15, and Danzing Candy drew the far-outside post, 20.

“The most interesting thing is Danzing Candy in the 20 hole,” said Doug O’Neill, who trains Nyquist. “Is he going to send hard to try and clear? If he does, that may affect his energy late. If he doesn’t send hard, is that going to make us make the lead?

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“Prior to this, we kind of wanted to be outside all these horses,” O’Neill added. “We’re not, but still, the 13 hole is a great hole.”

Nyquist was installed as the 3-1 favorite on the morning line set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs. He has Exaggerator as the distant second choice at 8-1, with Creator, Gun Runner, and Mohaymen co-third choices at 10-1.

Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, has Nyquist favored at 7-2, Exaggerator next at 8-1, and Mohaymen the third choice at 10-1.

Oftentimes trainers want to avoid inside stalls with horses who have early or tactical speed, but in this case, the first four slots went to horses who are all deep closers – Trojan Nation, Suddenbreakingnews, Creator, and Mo Tom.

Lani, the Japanese-based horse who has been a poor actor all week, landed post 8, with Oscar Nominated to his inside and Destin to his outside.

Destin and Outwork are trained by Todd Pletcher, who along with Chad Brown (My Man Sam, Shagaf) and Steve Asmussen (Creator, Gun Runner) has two runners in this year’s Derby. With his 44th and 45th Derby starters this year, Pletcher is edging ever closer to the record held by D. Wayne Lukas, under whom Pletcher apprenticed before beginning his own decorated career.

Pletcher has won a record seven Eclipse Awards as champion trainer, while Lukas has amassed four. At the Derby though, Lukas – who does not have a horse in this year’s race – owns four wins from his record 48 starters, while Pletcher has one, with Super Saver in 2010.

Pletcher’s 1-for-43 record looks ugly on the surface, but considering that he usually has multiple runners in the Derby each year, he’s actually had starters in 15 Derbies. If he wins this year, 2 for 16 wouldn’t sound all that bad. And just to get to the Derby, Pletcher’s horses have earned their way by winning significant stakes races.

To win this year, though, either Destin or Outwork will have to outrun 18 others. A total of 22 horses were entered Wednesday morning in the Derby, but since a maximum of 20 horses – based on points earned in 34 designated Derby prep races – can start, the two with the fewest points, Laoban and Cherry Wine, were placed on the also-eligible list, in that order.

In order for Laoban or Cherry Wine to get into the race, horses in the main body of the race must scratch before scratch time at 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday. Scratch time is a full day before the Derby to facilitate early betting. Laoban would be the first horse in if one horse scratches. If two horses come out by Friday, both would get in. They would occupy the outside posts in the starting gate.

If anyone in the main body of the race is withdrawn after 9 a.m. Friday, the also-eligibles are out of luck.

Laoban and Cherry Wine were ranked 23rd and 25th on the points list as of Wednesday morning but moved up the list when Fellowship (21st), Adventist (22nd), and Dazzling Gem (24th) were not entered.

Destin and Outwork safely earned their slots in the Derby through victories in important prep races. Destin defeated Outwork in the Tampa Bay Derby, and then Outwork won the Wood Memorial. They figure to be among the many horses in this race who will be midpriced runners.

Outwork, a hulking specimen who Pletcher estimates weighs nearly 1,300 pounds, has won three of his four starts. He was under a tight deadline to make the Derby, considering that he went nearly 10 months between starts before his 3-year-old debut. He has won two of his three races this year, his lone loss coming to his stablemate.

“Essentially, everything had to go perfectly for him to get to this point,” Pletcher said. “I never felt like we were rushing. Fortunately, we never had any setbacks.”

Outwork has made a positive impression all week, as has Destin, who has not raced since the Tampa Bay Derby, meaning he will come into this race off an eight-week layoff. That is uncharted waters for the Derby but not a schedule with which Pletcher is unfamiliar. Generally speaking, he prefers plenty of time between starts.

Destin has won three times in five starts and blossomed at Tampa Bay Downs, where he won the Sam F. Davis Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby in succession, earning career-best Beyer Speed Figures both times. He’s had five works since his last race March 12, four at Palm Beach Downs and then a final drill here last Friday in which he went five furlongs in 1:01.40.

“I think he’s coming up to the race as well as he can,” Pletcher said. “I liked his breeze here.”

The Derby will be televised live by NBC in a three-hour-plus telecast beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. The day’s coverage begins at noon on NBCSN with a four-hour telecast.

The Weather Channel is calling for warming temperatures as Derby Week progresses, with a high of 85 on Saturday after highs of 65 on Thursday and 73 on Friday.

– additional reporting by David Grening

Kentucky Derby field
1. Trojan Nation, A. Gryder, 50-1
2. Suddenbreakingnews, L. Quinonez, 20-1
3. Creator, R. Santana, 10-1
4. Mo Tom, C. Lanerie, 20-1
5. Gun Runner, F. Geroux, 10-1
6. My Man Sam, I. Ortiz, 20-1
7. Oscar Nominated, J. Leparoux, 50-1
8. Lani, Y. Take, 30-1
9. Destin, J. Castellano, 15-1
10. Whitmore, V. Espinoza, 20-1
11. Exaggerator, K. Desormeaux, 8-1
12. Tom’s Ready, B. Hernandez, 30-1
13. Nyquist, M. Gutierez, 3-1
14. Mohaymen, J. Alvarado, 10-1
15. Outwork, J. Velazquez, 15-1
16. Shagaf, J. Rosario, 20-1
17. Mor Spirit, G. Stevens, 12-1
18. Majesto, E. Jaramillo, 30-1
19. Brody’s Cause, L. Saez, 12-1
20. Danzing Candy, M. Smith, 15-1
Also eligible:
21. Laoban, C. Velasquez, 50-1
22. Cherry Wine, R. Albarado, 30-1

:: Kentucky Derby Day 2016 previews, analysis, and plays

John More than 1 year ago
Like everyone else, as much as I hate betting a favorite, especially in a 20 horse field I read a great story about race horses .(LA Times)
A vet & a trainer contributed to the story about races horses, some want to run, some dont, some love the battle , some dont .
The vet who works Santa Anita said that Nyquist is one of the few that has the will to win every time he steps on the track, no matter the circumstances . Mud, wide, trapped inside, he will not let a horse by him, unless the trainer says " he doesnt see a wide horse on the wire "
So, like last year, 3-1 or 5-2.............................Ill build my ticket around Nyquist .
But if its muddy, Exagerator & Danzing Candy will be scary !
The fractions in the Santa Anita Derby were insane, they ran faster than the older handicap race 
later that day !
RaceTote More than 1 year ago
Accuweather has changed the forecast for Louisville at race time several times. Now the site predicts a 51% chance of a thunderstorm beginning at 5 o'clock Saturday. I just hope the track stays
dry during the race, and Lani stays calm in the gate.
RaceTote More than 1 year ago
I see Nyquist, Mohaymen, Outwork and Danzing Candy going to the lead as the gate open Saturday. I just hope Nyquist finds himself at or near the front, and along the rail around the first turn. After that it's up to the wisdom of the riders and talent of.the animal. There is a forecast for a possible thunderstorm estimated to arrive two hours after the race. I hope that's accurate or better yet misses the area altogether.
Rick Lamond More than 1 year ago
How many Kentucky Derbies is this with Rafael Bejerano not having a mount? I don't know about you guys, but I don't understand that. I really don't.
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
Not that Bobby had a lot of starters either, but I bet Rafael misses him terribly
Justin Glagola More than 1 year ago
Below is how I believe the final running order of the 2016 Kentucky Derby will finish. While I think almost anyone can win this year's derby, because it is that wide open. Nyquist should be the favorite going into the race, the horses in my top 12 I believe to have the best chances to win the race. The last 8 have very little chance in my opinion.  I would love to hear everyone's thoughts or comments about the race and my list!

1) Exaggerator                        6) My Man Sam        11) Tom's Ready       16) Shagaf
2) Mo Tom                                7) Brody's Cause     12) Mohaymen          17) Danzig Candy
3) Nyquist                                8) Gun Runner         13) Majesto                 18) Outwork
4) Suddenbreakingnews      9) Creator                 14) Destin                    19) Oscar Nominated
5) Mor Spirit                           10) Whitmore             15) Trojan Nation      20) Lani
Peter Reinschmidt More than 1 year ago
My exacta will be 11,13,19 on top to 1,5,8,11,13,19 on the bottom. $15 ticket for a dollar.
Peter Reinschmidt More than 1 year ago
If Outwork is 15-1, then why is Trojan Nation 50-1?  Maybe the odds aren't indicative of what happened in their stretch run in the Wood.  If it were at the Derby distance, TN would not be a maiden for this race. 
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
How many will load into the inside gate?
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
not enough ?
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
14 in the main, 6 in the auxiliary.
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
here we go , 13 hole as in the BC Juvenile, didn't bother him
                      6-7 wide as in the BC Juvenile, didn't bother him
                      looked 120% in all training up to this event,
                       I'll be happy to get 3-1 on the big horse
only question, will we see him get turned loose or just toy with them like he's been doing .:) 
Eli Dawkins More than 1 year ago
Well people its here D day best wishes to each and every one please make yourselves a lot of money exacta 5-13 tri 4-5-13