Nyquist proved much the best in Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, leading wire-to-wire in a 3 ¼-length decision, and likely assured himself favoritism at Churchill Downs on May 7 in the Road to the Kentucky Derby race.
By Uncle Mo, Nyquist remained perfect in his seventh career start, completing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:49.11 over a “good” track, and the champion 2-year-old colt picked up a $1 million bonus offered to any horse that sold at the Fasig-Tipton Florida March sale last year, increasing his earnings to a whopping $3,322,600.
Based in Southern California, Nyquist has the same connections – owner Reddam Racing, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez – as 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another.
Off as the 6-5 second choice in a 10-horse field, Nyquist showed the way on a short lead before opening up on his rivals in the stretch drive. Mohaymen, the top-ranked Kentucky Derby contender on the East Coast entering the race, was favored at 4-5 but wound up sustaining his first defeat.
Mohaymen advanced to challenge on the far turn but could not sustain his momentum, weakening in the final furlongs to fourth.
Majesto wound up a non-threatening second, with the late-running Fellowship taking third.
Nyquist, who capped his championship juvenile season with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland, has now captured six consecutive graded stakes. He is scheduled to ship to Keeneland on Sunday, where he will be prepared for the Kentucky Derby before vanning to Churchill Downs.
Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography