HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Champion Nyquist is doing well after his impressive victory in the $1-million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) Saturday at Gulfstream Park. Trainer Doug O’Neill returned to his California base late Saturday night, while the unbeaten Nyquist will continue on his Triple Crown quest in Kentucky.
“Talking to the crew, he looks good and he ate up well,” said O’Neill of Nyquist, who left Gulfstream at approximately 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
Owned by Reddam Racing LLC, Nyquist was perfect in five starts in 2015 and capped his stellar season by prevailing in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland. Reddam purchased the son of Uncle Mo for $400,000 13 months ago at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale at Gulfstream Park, and Fasig-Tipton offered a $1-million bonus if a Florida Sale graduate could capture the Gulfstream’s marquee event the following year.
Nyquist opened 2016 by carrying 124 pounds to victory in the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on February 15, and returned to the Sunshine State last week to solidify his credentials for the Triple Crown contests.
“We had this plan from after the Breeders’ Cup of what we wanted to do and it’s all unfolding perfectly,” O’Neill added.
Together with owners Paul and Zillah Reddam as well as jockey Mario Gutierrez, O’Neill enjoyed Classic victories with I’ll Have Another in 2012. That experience prepared the California horseman for the challenges Nyquist faces during the duration of his spring campaign.
“It’s nothing but great, really,” O’Neill said. “It’s definitely different with the fact that this guy is undefeated. If it’s possible, this might be a touch greater.”
Nyquist became the first Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old to capture the Florida Derby since Fly So Free in 1991, and the first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hero to follow up in the Florida Derby since Unbridled’s Song in 1996. Now seven-for-seven lifetime, he has earned $2,322,600 on the track for the Reddams.
Source: Gulfstream Park