05/14/2016 10:45AM

Preakness: Nyquist takes it easy at Pimlico

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Nyquist trains at Pimlico on Friday.

BALTIMORE – Nyquist, the undefeated Kentucky Derby winner, had a very easy morning at Pimlico on Saturday, jogging two miles the wrong way around the track while being led by a pony.

Trainer Doug O'Neill, who watched Nyquist's exercise from the press-box balcony, said Nyquist on Sunday would jog a mile and then gallop a mile.

O'Neill has followed an alternating system of jogs and gallops with Nyquist since he was a 2-year-old.

"He didn't miss many dances as a baby, so we trained him light," O'Neill said. "We've just kept the same routine with him."

Nyquist ran five times at 2, winning three Grade 1 races – the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, the FrontRunner at Santa Anita, and the Del Mar Futurity. He also won the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar and a Santa Anita maiden race.

The Pimlico track still had some moisture in it and was listed as "good" Saturday following rain the previous day. Nyquist entered the track from the on-gap at the top of the Pimlico stretch with his regular rider, Jonny Garcia, aboard. Jack Sisterson, O'Neill's assistant trainer, led Nyquist from a pony.

The group turned left after entering the track and stayed toward the outer rail throughout, with Nyquist moving at a slow canter, barely quicker than a walk. They exited the track after two laps around the one-mile oval.

Nyquist appeared remarkably calm for a horse who a week earlier had tracked a fast pace en route to winning the Kentucky Derby.

"He's a special horse," O'Neill said. "It would be nice if they were all like that."

O'Neill added that he was using the same training pattern as he does with Nyquist with more and more of his horses.

"I'm seeing tighter legs, colder legs, and happier horses," he said.

O'Neill said he was happy with how Nyquist was handling the Pimlico surface since shipping in the Monday after the Derby.

"He's very sure-footed," ONeill said. "He's won five Grade 1's over five different tracks."

Nyquist is 3 for 3 this year, with victories in Kentucky Derby, Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, and Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita. In his eight starts, he has earned more than $4.9 million for owner J. Paul Reddam.

• O'Neill worked three other horses at Pimlico on Saturday in preparation for upcoming races.

Donworth, whom O'Neill is pointing to the Grade 1 Met Mile on Belmont Stakes Day, broke into a gallop passing the finish line and was timed in 52.40 seconds for his final half-mile. O'Neill said he timed Donworth in 12 second for his final eighth.

Royal Albert Hall, whom O'Neill plans to run in the Grade 3, $200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes at Santa Anita on May 29, breezed a half in 51. The Whittingham is a 1 1/4-mile turf race.

Double Espresso, a 3-year-old filly, was timed for the final half-mile of her one-mile exercise in 52.40. She could run in a maiden race on turf this weekend at Pimlico.

• Yutaka Take has been confirmed to ride Lani in the Preakness. The horse finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby.

– additional reporting by David Grening