Nyquist to be saddled in indoor paddock

by | May 18, 2016 | Breaking, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing, Triple Crown Trail

Nyquist (left) on the track at Pimlico May 11. Photo by George Adams.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

While it’s customary for Preakness starters to be saddled on the turf course across from the grandstand, trainer Doug O’Neill said Wednesday he will accept the option to saddle Kentucky Derby champion Nyquist in the paddock inside the grandstand building.

“We’re going to saddle inside just with the theory that we saddle the horse in the stall every day,” O’Neill said. “Sometimes saddling in the wide open, they can get looking around and not paying attention, so we’ll saddle him in the downstairs paddock area and then come out on the grass.”

Nyquist will seek to become the third West Coast-based horse in a row to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, following 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah and California Chrome, whose 2014 Triple Crown bid fizzled with a fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

“I think it probably goes in cycles. Probably the next three or four years, it’ll be East Coast horses. Yeah, it’s been a pretty good run for West Coast horses,” said O’Neill, who speculated that the consistent weather could be a contributing factor.

Nyquist, the undefeated Uncle Mo colt who was the two-year-old champion last year, jogged two miles at Pimlico this morning.

“The morning went great. As planned, we jogged him two miles. I sound like a broken record – great energy, he looked great,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, whose stable star jogged two miles in the company of a pony. “We’re just looking for him to continue what he’s been doing since he’s been in Baltimore and just keep his appetite up and stay injury-free and stay loose. I’m very happy.”