07/24/2016 4:59PM

Nyquist sharpens for Haskell by drilling a mile

Barbara D. Livingston
Nyquist, shown training at Santa Anita last month, went a mile in 1:39.40 before Sunday's first race at Del Mar.

Del Mar, Calif. -- Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist on Sunday worked a mile at Del Mar in 1:39.40 in his final work before next Sunday's Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth, which will be his first start since he suffered his first career loss when third in the Preakness Stakes two months ago.

Nyquist worked shortly after 1 pm, about an hour before the first race. He worked in company with the 2-year-old Sorry Erik, who provided a target for five furlongs before Nyquist powered past him.

Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist's regular jockey, was aboard for the work.

Nyquist began about two lengths behind Sorry Erik as they came past the finish line of the one-mile oval. Nyquist was clocked in fractions of 25.80 seconds for a quarter-mile and 50.40 for a half-mile, took over from Sorry Erik at that point, went six furlongs in 1:14.40, and went his final quarter-mile, with no company to push him, in 25 seconds to complete the drill.

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"That was nice. I'm really happy," his trainer, Doug O'Neill, said back at the barn. "I think we're where we were going into the Derby."

The work on Sunday was similar to the final work Nyquist put in at Keeneland before his Derby victory, only the first part of this work was quicker; O'Neill often has Nyquist go off even slower the first three furlongs or so.

"The thinking is the track is a little tighter before the first race and we wanted a little bit more of a stiff work," O'Neill said. "He went off nice and relaxed, finished up, did it the right way."

Nyquist is scheduled to fly to New Jersey on Wednesday.