LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, May 4, 2016) – Reddam Racing’s champion 2-year-old of 2015, Nyquist, has been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 142nd running of the $2,391,600 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs.
Post time for the Derby, the 12th of 14 races Saturday, is 6:34 p.m. (all times Eastern). Gates open Saturday at8 a.m. with the first race scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Temperatures are forecast to be in the low 80s with sunny skies.
The Kentucky Derby will be carried by NBC with a 3 ½-hour telecast from 4-7:30 p.m. The winner of the 1 ¼-mile first leg of the Triple Crown with 20 starters will receive $1,631,600.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, Nyquist is undefeated in seven starts with four victories coming in Grade I races and two others in Grade II events.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez who has handled the colt in all of his starts, Nyquist enters the Derby off a 3 ¼-length victory in the Florida Derby (GI). Nyquist capped off his 2015 campaign with a triumph in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Keeneland.
A victory by Nyquist would give the human combination of Paul Reddam, O’Neill and Gutierrez a second Derby trophy to go with the one earned by I’ll Have Another in 2012.
Nyquist will break from post position 13.
Five other Grade I winners are in the field that also features five more Grade II winners and four Grade III winners.
Big Chief Racing, Head of Plains Partners and Rocker O Ranch’s Exaggerator, winner of the Santa Anita Derby (GI), is the second choice on linemaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line at 8-1 and will be ridden by three-time Derby-winning jockey Kent Desormeaux.
Trained by first-time Derby trainer Keith Desormeaux (Kent’s older brother), Exaggerator will break from post position 11.
Kent Desormeaux’s Derby victories came on Real Quiet in 1998, Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 and Big Brownin 2008.
WinStar Farm’s Creator, winner of the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start, and Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Louisiana Derby (GII) winner Gun Runner, both.trained by Hall of Fame electee Steve Asmussen, are co-third choices at 10-1 on the line.
Creator will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. and break from post position three and Gun Runner, a winner of four of five starts, will be ridden by Florent Geroux and will exit post position five.
Other Grade I winners in the field are Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause, Michael Petersen’s Mor Spirit and Repole Stable’s Outwork.
Brody’s Cause won the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his most recent start. Trained by Dale Romans, Brody’s Cause won the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) last fall at Keeneland and finished third behind Nyquist in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Luis Saez has the mount on Brody’s Cause, 12-1 on the line, and will break from post position 19.
Other Grade I winners in the field are Michael Petersen’s Mor Spirit and Repole Stable’s Outwork.
Mor Spirit, winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity (GI) in December and most recently the runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby, is trained by four-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert and will be ridden by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Gary Stevens.
Baffert will be trying to match his 1997-98 feat of saddling back-to-back Derby winners, having scored last year with eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Baffert’s other Derby winners are War Emblem in 2002, Real Quiet in 1998 and Silver Charm in 1997.
Stevens partnered Silver Charm and also won the Derby on Winning Colors in 1988 and Thunder Gulch in 1995.
Mor Spirit, 12-1 on the line, will break from post position 17.
Outwork will be one of two starters for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the 2010 Derby with Super Saver.
Outwork has won three of four starts, highlighted by a victory in the Wood Memorial (GI) in his most recent start. His lone defeat came in the Tampa Bay Derby (GII) with a runner-up finish to stablemate Destin.
John Velazquez, who won the 2011 Derby on Animal Kingdom, has the mount on Outwork and will break from post position 15.
Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Destin took the Sam F. Davis (GIII) at Tampa Bay Downs as well as the Tampa Bay Derby. Javier Castellano has the mount and will break from post position nine.
Both Pletcher entrants are 15-1 on the line.
Adding international flavor to this year’s Derby is Koji Maeda’s Lani.
Winner of the UAE Derby (Group II) in his most recent start, Lani will become the first Japanese-based horse to run in the Kentucky Derby since 1995 when Ski Captain finished 14th behind Thunder Gulch.
Trained by Mikio Matsunaga, Lani will be ridden by Yutaka Take and break from post position eight. Lani is 30-1 on the line.
Other Grade II winners in the field are Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen and Halo Farms and Jim and Dianne Bashor’s Danzing Candy.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Mohaymen had his five-race undefeated streak snapped in a fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby. Four of those victories came in Grade II races, the Nashua and Remsen last November at Aqueduct and the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth this winter at Gulfstream Park.
Junior Alvarado will ride Mohaymen, at 10-1 on the line, and break from post position 14.
Danzing Candy, winner of the San Felipe (GII) and most recently fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, is trained by Cliff Sise Jr. Mike Smith, who won the 2005 Derby on Giacomo, has the mount on the 15-1 shot and will break from post position 20.
Grade III winners in the race are Samuel Henderson’s Suddenbreakingnews, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’sOscar Nominated and Shadwell Stable’s Shagaf.
Trained by Donnie Von Hemel, Suddenbreakingnews enters the Derby off a runner-up finish in the Arkansas Derby. He began 2016 with a victory in the Southwest (GIII) at Oaklawn Park. Luis Quinones, who has ridden the Mineshaft gelding in all eight of his starts, has the mount Saturday and will break from post position two. Suddenbreakingnews is 20-1 on the line.
Oscar Nominated, who will be making his dirt racing debut Saturday, won the Spiral (GIII) at Turfway Park last month. Trained by Mike Maker, Oscar Nominated (50-1) will be ridden by Julien Leparoux and break from post position seven.
Shagaf, winner of the Gotham (GIII), is trained by Chad Brown. Joel Rosario, who rode Orb to victory in 2013, has the call on Shadwell Stable’s Shagaf. Listed at 20-1 on the line, Shagaf will break from post 16.
Brown also will send out Blue Grass runner-up My Man Sam for the ownership of Sheep Pond Partners, Newport Stables and Jay Bligh. Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride My Man Sam (15-1) and break from post position six.
In addition to Gutierrez, Desormeaux, Stevens, Smith, Rosario and Velazquez, one other rider will attempt to add to his Kentucky Derby victory total.
Victor Espinoza will try to become the first jockey in Derby history to win the races three consecutive years when he rides Robert LaPenta, Harry Rosenblum and Southern Springs Stable’s Whitmore. Espinoza, who won with War Emblem in 2002, piloted California Chrome and American Pharoah to victory the past two years. Whitmore (20-1) will break from post position 10.
The field for the Kentucky Derby, with riders and morning line odds from the rail out, is: Trojan Nation(Aaron Gryder, 50-1). Suddenbreakingnews (Quinonez, 20-1), Creator (Santana Jr., 10-1), Mo Tom (Corey Lanerie, 20-1), Gun Runner (Geroux, 10-1), My Man Sam (Ortiz Jr., 20-1), Oscar Nominated (Leparoux, 50-1), Lani (Take, 30-1), Destin (Castellano, 15-1), Whitmore (Espinoza, 20-1), Exaggerator (Desormeaux, 8-1), Tom’s Ready (Brian Hernandez Jr., 30-1), Nyquist (Gutierrez, 3-1), Mohaymen (Alvarado, 10-1), Outwork (Velazquez, 15-1), Shagaf (Rosario, 15-1), Mor Spirit (Stevens, 12-1), Majesto (Emisael Jaramillo, 30-1), Brody’s Cause (Saez, 12-1) and Danzing Candy (Smith, 15-1). Also-eligibles: Laoban (Cornelio Velasquez, 50-1) and Cherry Wine (Robby Albarado, 30-1). All starters will carry 126 pounds.