Undefeated juvenile colt champion Nyquist embarks on his personal road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) Monday at Santa Anita when he heads a field of six for the $200,000 San Vicente (G2) going seven furlongs.
The San Vicente, last won by an eventual Derby winner in 1997 by Silver Charm, does not offer any qualifying points as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. However, Nyquist is hardly in need of any additional at this point, having earned a total of 30 taking the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and FrontRunner (G1) last fall.
Owned by J. Paul Reddam, trained by Doug O'Neill, and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, the same connections as 2012 Derby winner I'll Have Another, Nyquist also captured the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and Best Pal (G2) during his two-year-old campaign.
O'Neill has said the San Vicente will be the first of only two preps Nyquist will have prior to the Run for the Roses, and has stated the Florida Derby (G1), on April at 1 1/8 miles, would probably be the other. Nyquist is eligible for a $1 million bonus should he win the Florida Derby being a graduate of Fasig-Tipton's Florida Sale of juveniles last year.
The San Vicente has come up unusually tough. In addition to Nyquist, Exaggerator is another of last year's leading two-year-old who will make their season debut in it. The son of Curlin captured the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Saratoga Special (G2), placed in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) and was only three lengths behind Nyquist when fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Speedy stakes winner Sheikh of Sheikhs, impressive debut winner Denman's Call, and the stakes-placed Denman's Call are others that will line up.