KWIST IS FIRST MARYLAND WINNER FOR SIRE NYQUIST
Joseph Besecker’s Kwist became the sixth winner for first-year sire Nyquist and the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner’s first in Maryland by overcoming an inside post and holding off game favorite Golden Gulley through the stretch to get up by a neck Thursday at Laurel Park.
A narrow third choice at 5-2 in the six-furlong maiden special weight for 2-year-olds, Kwist ($7.20) completed the distance in 1:12.07 over a fast main track in his career debut with Angel Cruz up for summer meet-leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez.
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“He broke good,” Gonzalez said. “That is the most important thing with the 2-year-olds. Angel did a really good job when he broke and put him right away in front. When he got into the fight he was able to keep digging and keep digging and got it done.”
A half-brother to two-time Grade 1 winner Midnight Lucky out of the Citidancer mare Citiview, Kwist bumped slightly with Helms Deep a step out of the gate but quickly established position up front and led through splits of 23.20 and 47.16 seconds pressed by Alpha Queue. Kwist remained in control approaching the stretch as Golden Gulley found room inside to launch a bid, but was able to turn back the challenge. It was 5 ¾ lengths back to Alpha Queue in third.
Among Nyquist’s other runners this year are Vequist and Lady Lilly, who respectively ran first and third in the Sept. 7 Spinaway (G1) at Saratoga, and Gretzky The Great, winner of the Soaring Free Stakes Aug. 23 at Woodbine. Dream Quist was his first winner, July 26 at Ellis Park.
“I never like the post position one, especially with 2-year-olds the first time,” Gonzalez said. “You’re never happy about that but we just try to do the best we can and everything worked out today.”