04/29/2016 2:46PM

Nyquist exceeds expectations in final work before Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Nyquist works a mile in 1:41.01 under Mario Gutierrez on Friday at Keeneland.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Nyquist was fast enough to win going five furlongs in his debut nearly 11 months ago, so there’s no need to work on his speed. As he edges closer to the Kentucky Derby on May 7, when he will run 1 1/4 miles for the first time, the emphasis has been on stamina.

He’s had a series of long workouts, first in California and now in Kentucky, and it was more of the same – even a little more so – on Friday morning here at Keeneland, where Nyquist completed his serious training for the Derby with a one-mile workout timed by Daily Racing Form in 1:41.01.

His work was the last of 13 drills turned in by Derby prospects on Friday, with the other 12 earlier in the morning 72 miles west of here at Churchill Downs, the home of the Derby.

But Nyquist’s work was the most anticipated because he goes into the Derby as the acknowledged favorite, with a perfect 7 for 7 record and wearing the crown as the champion of his division at age 2, when he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile here.

The work was similar to what Nyquist has been doing all spring on work days. But this time, instead of dawdling through the first three furlongs and then polishing off a faster five furlongs – often receiving five-furlong times from official clockers – he went out at a faster, though not fast, pace with workmate Ralis before leaving that stakes winner for good in upper stretch.

“Very happy, beyond what we imagined,” said Doug O’Neill, who trains Nyquist for Paul and Zillah Reddam. “He exceeded our expectations. He did it nice and easy.”

Nyquist and Ralis were granted permission by Keeneland to work at 12:15 p.m., a little less than an hour before the first race of the closing-day card. Nyquist was accompanied by a pony, and those two and Ralis entered the track at the mile pole and then jogged the wrong way to about the half-mile pole before turning around. After passing the finish line of the 1 1/16-mile track, the work commenced, with Nyquist starting off slightly behind Ralis. They were even for much of the backstretch and around the far turn, but then Nyquist began to draw away in upper stretch under jockey Mario Gutierrez.

“Poor Ralis,” O’Neill said as Nyquist bounced clear.

Nyquist swapped leads late in the stretch, which O’Neill attributed to him leaving his workmate.

“He worked good. It’s very exciting,” said Gutierrez, who teamed with O’Neill and the Reddams four years ago to win the Derby with I’ll Have Another.

O’Neill said he was happy with the way Nyquist had progressed since a minor hiccup – shipping fever – soon after arriving here following his win in the Florida Derby four weeks ago. Nyquist was scheduled to be sent by van from here to Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon. O’Neill said he would have a fairly mundane week in Louisville.

“Visit the gate, walk through the paddock, jog, and gallop,” O’Neill said.

At Churchill Downs on Friday, the two Derby horses trained by Todd Pletcher, two trained by Chad Brown, and the once-beaten Mohaymen were among the flurry of workers, several of whom had their works moved up a day to avoid predicted wet weather over the weekend.

Outwork, the Wood Memorial winner, worked five furlongs in 1:01.16 in company for Pletcher. Destin, Pletcher’s Tampa Bay Derby winner, also worked five furlongs in company, going in 1:01.27.

Brown’s Derby candidates both went a half-mile. My Man Sam, the Blue Grass Stakes runner-up, was timed in 49.45 seconds, while Shagaf was timed by Churchill Downs clockers in 47.80 seconds. DRF had his final three furlongs in 35.44 seconds.

Mohaymen, who suffered his first loss in the Florida Derby, worked a half-mile in 47.51 seconds for Kiaran McLaughlin.

Mo Tom, who encountered severe trouble in the Louisiana Derby and Risen Star, worked a half-mile in 49.09 seconds for Tom Amoss.

Suddenbreakingnews, second in the Arkansas Derby, worked five furlongs by himself in 59.46 seconds for Donnie Von Hemel.

Whitmore, third in the Arkansas Derby, worked five furlongs in 59.81 seconds for Ron Moquett.

Tom’s Ready, second in the Louisiana Derby, worked five furlongs in company, with Churchill’s clockers giving him a time of 59.40 seconds. He is trained by Dallas Stewart.

Oscar Nominated, winner of the Spiral Stakes, was timed by Churchill clockers working five furlongs in 1:00.80 for trainer Mike Maker.

Fellowship, ranked 21st on points and hoping to draw in to the 20-horse field, worked a half-mile in 47.09 seconds for trainer Mark Casse.

Florida Derby runner-up Majesto worked five furlongs by himself in 1:01.32 for trainer Gustavo Delgado.

Javier Castellano worked Destin, then got off him to work Majesto. He rides Destin in the Derby.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch

Sophie Roevens More than 1 year ago
Nyquist, Mor Spirit, Gun Runner, Mohaymen and in 5th place Whitmore
alex More than 1 year ago
Nyquist towers over this field and your going to get 3-1 or better on him come derby day, The colt has so many things going for him its almost not fair let me start  out with that rock solid 2 yr, old racing foundation underneath him,he is peaking right now with the K.D. being his 3rd race in his current form cycle.his coat is absolutely glowing right now @ churchill downs and training superbly never mind he's toyed with the solid 2nd choice (Exaggerator} 3 times alresdy the likely 3rd,4th and 5th choices {Mohaymen,etc,} all have been chewed up and spit out by the unbeaten champion. The fact that Nyqist is the only multiple grade 1 winner with tactical speed in the derby field is clearly the hugest advantage of all. No one can deny which colt possesses THE HEART OF A CHAMPION.....
Mark More than 1 year ago
Take it easy. Don't crown him yet. I have found the horse that has run the fastest race of any of the preps and no one is talking about him. You enjoy those BS figures.
Richard Kennedy More than 1 year ago
NYQUIST is the most probable winner.  That said, you still have to box selections and include crazy Longshots like TROJAN NATION. My early picks are:
3rd -  Mo Tom
Mark More than 1 year ago
So you put up Trojan Nation (maiden) but not Outwork? Hmm, in order for anyone to ever believe that wasn't just a miracle (an 81-1 miracle), you would have to believe Outwork is a serious contender. So I ask, what's your deal?
Btw, that Wood came back very weak. I just did you a favor, get another horse up there.
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
what a workout !! and watch the replay of Florida, Mario riding with way lower stirrups then the rest of the field cause this machine hasn't been asked to run yet and plays around out there , Pharaoh won't own the crown for long. Any odds over even money on Nyquist for KD is a steal
Mark More than 1 year ago
Ooh, that was crazy. Nyquist isn't close to American Pharoah. 
Ray Perez More than 1 year ago

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh is it about time for horse race fixing in the kty derby?   It'll be great to watch the track officials hit the buttons down the stretch.   
Thomas Georgetown More than 1 year ago
LOL I am surprised they can wait so long before 'fixing' the race. Let me know if you find out which button they are going to press. Otherwise I am going with Gun Runner and Exaggerator, letting Nyquist beat me if he is a prohibitive favorite.
Andrew Connie More than 1 year ago
After 1 1/8 he will be swimming 
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
it's called "floating home"  :)
john g More than 1 year ago
Jay, could you please let Mike Welsch know that in his last 3 work out video's there is a lot of back ground noise. I can't hardly hear Mike's report. It has been really bad in the last three videos. The last was like he was beside a loud speaker, the other was like someone running a leaf blower or something, and the other was a truck with it's back up alarm sounding constantly.
I really look forward to hearing Mike Welsch's work out reports, but I didn't even finish listening to two of them. Hopefully, he will be able to find a lot quieter room to give his next, and final reports. Thanks
Mark More than 1 year ago
John, stop already. You've posted this all over. Relax. It will be ok.
Gerardo Gonzalez More than 1 year ago
Nobody will beat Nyquist, is too fast and healthy and strong he already beat 1/2 of this  horse's and I will take the  front runner anytime on a 20 horse field, so come and come and catch me and see you at the preakness!!
littlelouis99 More than 1 year ago
exactly !
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Now they just have to keep an eye on what comes in and out of his barn .just like they did in NY. With ILL HAVE ANOTHER.  As soon as he gets to Churchill keep an eye on him and all the others.
curtis1440clark More than 1 year ago
your an idiot
Rob Tolliver More than 1 year ago
How dare he question Drug O'Neil and the sport of drugged horses.  LOL....I mean are you kidding me?  Everyone on earth knows what the support is about these days.  One crooked scumbag after another cheating as much as possible.
Rob Tolliver More than 1 year ago
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Drugs Oneil is a saint that has never been caught ...not...and the true idiots are those that did not realize why he scratched that horse on Belmont day.