Nyquist trainer Doug O’Neill was nervous before his prized horse’s sixth workout yesterday, as the two prepare for Nyquist’s debut as a three-year-old. After rider Jonny Garcia made like Zorro and waved his whip in the air, the duo locked eyes in a sigh of relief.
“That’s what we want to see — doing his Frankie Dettori,” said O’Neill, referencing the world-class Italian-born jockey.
It was a wire-to-wire work at Santa Anita for Nyquist, who clocked in at an official time of 1:15 3/5 through six furlongs.
“Jonny was so excited. He said he felt so great and recovered so quickly,” said O’Neill. “All smiles. We’re one day closer to where we want to be.” The big event they’re preparing for is the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II), which will be run at Santa Anita on February 15th and marks Nyquist’s first race of the 2016 season.
Below you can see Nyquist’s times at each furlong fraction during his training session:
:16, :14, :13, :12 4/5, :12 2/5, :12 2/5, :12 4/5, and :11 4/5.
“Early on in his career—in the FrontRunner (gr. I), the first time we went two turns with him—it really seemed like he confused the seven-eighths pole for the three-eighths pole,” said O’Neill. “A lot of these horses are so trained for one turn, when they hit the first turn they run down the lane. So we’re just trying to get him to where he’s chilled on that first turn. You can’t do it with the average horse, but with a smart horse, you can.”
If weather permits, Nyquist will get one more training run in on January 31st.