02/16/2016 3:53PM

The week that was in racing, Feb. 8-15, 2016

Benoit & Associates
Nyquist wins the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes

Here's a collection of some of the biggest stories in horse racing, all in one place. Unless noted, all of the links here are to free stories on DRF.com.

Return of the champs

Even though none of the 11 graded stakes races this weekend had a Grade 1 rating, there was still plenty of star power on the track with the return of two champions. Female turf champ Tepin and juvenile male champ Nyquist both kicked off their respective 2016 campaigns in winning fashion as Tepin won the Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes at Tampa Bay on Saturday and Nyquist remained perfect in winning the Grade 2 San Vicente on Monday at Santa Anita. Doug O'Neill reported that Nyquist came out of the race well and will target the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 2 for his next start.

Graded stakes action around the country

The San Vicente didn’t offer any points for the Kentucky Derby, but that doesn’t matter as the 30 points Nyquist has earned already are probably enough to grant him entry in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May as long as he stays healthy. Two other horses did win 10 points each in winning Derby preps this weekend, though, as Suddenbreakingnews ran by all rivals in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes on Monday at Oaklawn Park and Frank Conversation gave Doug O’Neill yet another Derby contender as he beat 12 rivals home in Saturday’s Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

The top Beyer Speed Figure of the week came on the Santa Anita turf Saturday, when Bolo won the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes in his first start since being vanned off in the Belmont Derby on July 4. At Laurel Park on Monday, Page McKenney notched the first graded stakes win of his career in the Grade 3 General George. It was the 15th win for the 6-year-old gelding since being claimed by trainer Mary Eppler in July 2013.

Other notable performances

An optional claimer at Santa Anita last Sunday may produce runners for the $1 million Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 12, as Follow Me Crev won his fourth consecutive race (DRF Plus link) and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98. He beat Prospect Park, who was making his first start since last September and was using the race as a prep for the Big Cap.

Speaking of returns, Calculator was victorious Saturday (DRF Plus link) in his first race since winning the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in January 2015. It was a nice return for the gray colt who twice ran second to future Triple Crown winner American Pharoah as a 2-year-old.

Stonetastic got back to her winning ways Sunday at Gulfstream Park with a convincing win in the Miami Shores Handicap. It was the first stakes win for the 5-year-old mare since she won the Grade 2 Prioress at Saratoga in August 2014.

Breeding news

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah officially started his stud career last week. The first mare he covered was the 12-year-old graded stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent. She is the dam of Grade 1 winner Bodemeister who campaigned in partnership for Zayat Stables and – like American Pharoah – was trained by Bob Baffert.

Littleprincessemma, dam of American Pharoah, delivered a half-sister to the Triple Crown winner the night of Feb. 13 at Summer Wind Farm in Georgetown, Ky. Summer Wind reported that the Yankee Gentleman mare and her chestnut Tapit filly were both in good health after delivery.

Horses to watch

Trainer: Kathleen Feron
Last race: Feb. 15, 9th
Finish: 3rd by 8 1/4
Beyer: 34
The Beyer Speed Figure doesn’t look like much, but it’s nearly triple what she earned in her debut earlier this winter, when wide and against the grain of a rail-favoring track.

DRF Plus subscribers can see the rest of Dave Litfin’s horses to watch from last week by clicking here.

Santa Anita:
GUTSY EFFORT, by Don’tsellmeshort
Trainer: Mike Puype
Last race: Feb. 13, 2nd
Finish: 2nd by 6 1/4
Beyer: 44
This debut gelding was only prepping in this Cal-bred maiden $50,000 claimer. Off slowly, not asked, in traffic, finished willingly. Tab for improved effort next time out.

DRF Plus subscribers can see the rest of Brad Free’s horses to watch from last week by clicking here.

reporting by Steve Andersen, Jim Dunleavy, Chuck Dybdal, Nick Fortuna, Mike Hogan, Jay Privman, Nicole Russo, and Mike Welsch