Nyquist to be Baltimore-bound Monday

by | May 8, 2016 | Breaking, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories, Triple Crown Trail

Nyquist. Photo by Coady Photography/Churchill Downs.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Reddam Racing’s Nyquist, undefeated winner of the Kentucky Derby (G1), is headed to historic Pimlico Race Course for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, the 141st Preakness Stakes (G1) May 21.

The bay son of Uncle Mo is tentatively expected to arrive at Old Hilltop between 4 and 5 p.m. ET Monday in his quest to become racing’s 13th Triple Crown champion and second in as many years following American Pharoah’s popular triumph in 2015.

Nyquist improved his record to 8-0 with a 1 ¼-length victory over Exaggerator in the Kentucky Derby, making him the first unbeaten Derby horse with as many wins since Majestic Prince in 1969.

Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez also teamed up to win the Derby and Preakness in 2012 with I’ll Have Another before the horse was retired on the eve of the Belmont Stakes with a leg injury.

“I would expect his training schedule to be pretty light between now and the race because he’s certainly very fit,” Reddam said. “You could see that the way he crossed the wire. He was giving him that half-ride to just make sure he got there. When you see a jockey [look backward], you know then that they have a lot of horse under them. And he certainly did.”

O’Neill returned to Pimlico to finish fifth in the 2013 Preakness with Goldencents. I’ll Have Another is the only previous Preakness mount for Gutierrez, the lone jockey to win the Derby with each of his first two mounts.

“It’s like a dream. You have all the nerves, all the excitement, all of the adrenaline and then you win it,” Gutierrez said. “Today was like, ‘Oh man, did it really happen?’ I’m very, very blessed. I’m very happy. I’m glad the horse is doing OK. He did it. We all believed he could do it, but when your dreams turn into reality it’s a different thing.”

Expected to challenge Nyquist in the Preakness are Derby runner-up Exaggerator and ninth-place finisher Lani; Laoban and Cherry Wine, entered in the Derby but unable to draw into the race; and new shooters Collected, a multiple graded stakes winner trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert; Awesome Speed, whose victory in the April 9 Federico Tesio at Laurel Park earned him an automatic entry to the race; impressive recent Keeneland allowance winner Stradivari; and California Chrome Stakes winner Uncle Lino.

Other horses under consideration for the Preakness include Gun Runner and Suddenbreakingnews, third and fifth, respectively, in the Derby; Sharp Azteca, winner of Saturday’s Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Derby undercard; Adventist, most recently third in the Wood Memorial (G1); and Florida Derby (G1) third-place finisher Fellowship, who ran fourth in the Pat Day.

“We’re very excited that the Derby winner and a couple others from the race are coming to the Preakness,” said Georgeanne Hale, Vice President of Racing and Racing Secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club. “It looks like we’re going to have good field sizes and great weather. All 15 stakes Preakness weekend look to be coming together and right now it looks like two fantastic days of racing.”