Fancied Nyquist claims Kentucky Derby in style

Fancied Nyquist claims Kentucky Derby in style
Mario Guitierrez rides Nyquist to victory during the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs.

Washington - Nyquist posted his eighth victory in as many starts


Published: Sun 8 May 2016, 4:04 PM

Last updated: Mon 9 May 2016, 1:17 AM

Nyquist amply lived up to his favourite's billing, winning the 142nd Kentucky Derby on Saturday to become the eighth unbeaten horse to capture the first jewel of US racing's Triple Crown.
Trained by Doug O'Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist posted his eighth victory in as many starts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
The last undefeated Kentucky Derby winner was Seattle Slew in 1977. In a crowded field of 20, Nyquist broke well out of the 13th gate and settled in as Danzing Candy took the lead.
Gun Runner moved to the front at the far turn, but Nyquist surged past as they entered the finishing straight and beat the fast-finishing Exaggerator by 1 1/4-lengths. Gun Runner was third, another 3 1/4 lengths back.
"He's just such a special horse," O'Neill said of Nyquist. "You see it in his eye on a daily basis. He's just first class."
Despite Nyquist's unbeaten record, which included a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year, the colt's connections heard plenty of doubters, especially those who questioned whether he'd handle the 1 1/4-mile Derby distance.
"There was no way you could be nervous," O'Neill said. "You know he would find a way to pull it out at the end and he did. Mario gets a lot of credit too. What a ride."
Gutierrez, who has been aboard Nyquist for all eight of his races, said the colt has a knack for knowing just what he needs to do. "It was an amazing feeling. I only had to push him out. If he sees something coming he keeps going as fast as he needs to go," the jockey said.
It was a second Kentucky Derby victory for O'Neill, Gutierrez and Canadian owner Paul Reddam, who teamed to win the 2012 Run for the Roses with I'll Have Another. I'll Have Another went on to win the Preakness Stakes, but was denied his chance at the Triple Crown when an injury forced him out of the Belmont.
That disappointment came in the midst of a Triple Crown drought that stretched 37 years - until American Pharoah swept all three races last year. Nyquist will now likely be pointed at the 141st Preakness Stakes, on May 21 at Pimlico in Baltimore.

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