Nyquist has already commenced preparations for next season in California as he breezes at Santa Anita Park for the San Vicente Stakes. “He worked great today…as long as he stays injury free and El Nino doesn’t come blasting through the door, we’re on for the February 15th race,” noted trainer Doug O’Neil. The dirt sprint will be the first test of many for the potential 2016 Kentucky Derby favourite.
The Reddam Racing product went undefeated through 2015, capping the season with a dominant run at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GR1), beating out Swipe and Brody’s Cause who also grade out as likely contenders for the Kentucky Derby. Nyquist also posted wins at FrontRunner Stakes (GR1), Del Mar Futurity (GR1) and the Best Pal Stakes (GR2). There is no doubting that he is the horse to watch as we begin the next run of the Triple Crown in the United States.
The timing of the San Vicente is pivotal for the Kentucky Derby Futures Wager (KDFW), which will have a second pool of action opening the weekend prior from February 12th -14th, 2016. Nyquist closed the first pool in October as the odds on preference with a leading number of 9/1. Moyahman ended with 11/1 odds, while Airoforce and Swipe were co-third favourites at 18/1. The horse that touts the best, overall value remains Mor Spirit at 31/1, but that is completely a matter of preference.
If all goes well for Nyquist at the San Vicente, the Florida Derby would be the next stop for the horse and his connections. “In an ideal world, it would be the San Vicente, the Florida Derby, and the Kentucky Derby,” continued O’Neill.
Word persists around the industry and there is only one horse truly capable of matching Nyquist. That would be a filly named Songbird who obliterated the field at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GR1) while also claiming victory at the Chandelier (GR1) and the Del Mar Debutante (GR1). Songbird is also scheduled to debut at the Las Virgenes Stakes (GR2) at Santa Anita on February 6th.
If Nyquist and Songbird both perform to the immense standards being set for them, it could very well build on the excitement that American Pharaoh generated for the sport. It all starts in February at Santa Anita Park as we build towards the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.