HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen and Reddam Racing LLC’s Nyquist are the most prominent among 31 3-year-olds nominated for the $1 million xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park April 2.
Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Mohaymen and Doug O’Neill-conditioned Nyquist are scheduled to start in the key Triple Crown prep race for a East-Meets-West clash of undefeated stars.
Stabled at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County, Mohaymen has established himself as the top Triple Crown prospect during the Championship Meet, capturing the Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2) by 3 ½ lengths Jan. 30 and the Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) by 2 ¼ lengths Feb. 27. The son of Tapit went 3-for-3 during the juvenile campaign that was concluded with triumphs in the Nashua (G2) and Remsen (G2).
Based at Santa Anita and scheduled to arrive in South Florida Monday afternoon, Nyquist captured the San Vicente (G2) Feb. 15 in his first start since capping off his Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old campaign with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland Oct. 31. The son of Uncle Mo won two other Grade 1 stakes during his 5-for-5 2015 season, prepping for the Juvenile with scores in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. The graduate of the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale of Selected Yearlings, Nyquist is eligible for a $1 million bonus with a victory in the Florida Derby.
O’Neill-trained Ralis, the Hopeful (G1) winner, Frank Conversation, the El Camino Real Derby (G3) victor at Golden Gate Fields, and Denman’s Call, third behind Nyquist in the San Vicente, were also nominated but aren’t expected to be entered.
O’Neill, Reddam Racing and jockey Mario Gutierrez teamed up to win the 2012 Kentucky Derby(G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) with I’ll Have Another.
Jacks or Better Farm’s Fellowship, third behind Mohaymen in both the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth, was nominated to Gulfstream’s 1 1/8-mile signature event and is expected to start. The Stanley Gold-trained son of Awesome of Course captured the $500,000 In Reality, the Florida Sire Stakes finale, at Gulfstream last fall.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who saddled Materiality (2015) and Constitution (2014) for the last two runnings of the Florida Derby, nominated three horses for this year’s renewal, including Stonestreet Stables and partners’ Zulu, the Fountain of Youth runner-up; Alto Racing LLC’s Azar, a Grade 2 stakes winner on turf who won his dirt debut in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Feb. 28; and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Gimlet, who has won one of three starts on turf.
St. Elias Stable and partners’ Greenpointcrusader, the Holy Bull runner-up; Colts Neck Stable’s Awesome Speed, the Mucho Macho Man winner who finished fourth in the Fountain of Youth; Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence’s Flexibility, the Jerome winner (G3) who finished fourth in the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct; and William Pacello and Frank Jones Jr.’s Cherry Wine, an optional claiming allowance winner at Gulfstream before finishing fourth in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn; are also nominated for the Florida Derby, which has produced 56 winners of Triple Crown events.
The Florida Derby will be supported by seven stakes, including the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks and five other graded stakes.
Newtown Anner Stud and Head of Plains Partners LLC’s Off the Tracks has been nominated to the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies by Pletcher. The undefeated daughter of Curlin was purchased privately following her 4 ¼-length romp in the Margate Handicap at Gulfstream Feb. 21. Off the Tracks was coming off a seven-month layoff that followed her 3 ¼-length score in the Schuylerville (G3) at Saratoga last July.
Pletcher also nominated Stonestreet Stable’s Rachel’s Valentina, the daughter of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra who finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland Oct. 31 after winning the Spinaway (G1) at Saratoga.
Three Chimneys Farm LLC’s Carina Mia, an impressive winner of the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs in her most recent start Nov. 29, was nominated to the Oaks by trainer Bill Mott.
Cash is King LLC’s Cathryn Sophia, who captured the Forward Gal (G2) and Davona Dale (G2) during the Championship Meet, is nominated to the Oaks, but the undefeated filly is not expected to be entered.
The $300,000 Honey Fox (G2), a mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares, drew 23 nominations; the $200,000 Pan American (G2), a 1 ½-mile turf stakes, attracted 21 nominations; 15 older fillies and mares were nominated for the $200,000 Orchid, a 1 3/8-mile turf event; 34 horses are on the list of nominations for the $200,000 Appleton (G3), a mile turf stakes; the $150,000 Skip Away, a 1 1/8-mile test for older horses, drew 17 nominations; and 18 horses were nominated for the $100,000 Sir Shackelton, a seven-furlong sprint.
Source: Gulfstream Park