BALTIMORE – Preakness-bound Nyquist, the emphatic winner of last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), has settled in well at Pimlico Race Course and is scheduled to visit the racetrack at Old Hilltop 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, said that the unbeaten colt owned by Reddam Racing LLC, had a quiet Tuesday morning while walking the shedrow at Barn D, which is adjacent to the Preakness Stakes Barn on the Pimlico backstretch.
Nyquist and six other O’Neill runners shipped from Kentucky to Baltimore Monday afternoon and are stabled in the same barn that O’Neill used in 2012, when Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another won the Preakness (G1).
Sisterson said Land Over Sea, quite possibly the headliner in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on Friday, May 20, is slated to follow Nyquist to the racetrack at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Land Over Sea finished second in last Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Nyquist won the Derby by 1 ¼ lengths over Exaggerator in 2:01.31, the fastest time since Funny Cide covered the 1 ¼ -mile distance in 2:01.19 in 2003. It was the fourth time Exaggerator finished behind Nyquist. They will meet again in the Preakness.
Sisterson said that O’Neill will continue with the training program that has yielded such good results: alternating days of galloping and jogging. He doesn’t expect that O’Neill, who is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore on Thursday, will send the colt out for a timed breeze between the two races.
“We didn’t work I’ll Have Another, so I don’t think we’ll work Nyquist,” Sisterson said.
With such a short turnaround between the Derby and the Preakness, the mission, Sisterson said, is to maintain his fitness without using much energy.
“I’m just keeping him happy,” he said. “There’s not much we can do in two weeks. I think his record speaks for itself and we’re not going to change anything from what we’ve done with him in the past.”
Awesome Speed Breezes, Confirmed for Middle Jewel of Triple Crown
Colts Neck Stables LLC’s Awesome Speed was confirmed for the Preakness Stakes Tuesday morning after breezing six furlongs at his owner’s New Jersey farm.
“He went three-quarters in [1:13], which is pretty good out here,” trainer Alan Goldberg said. “He seemed to come back good and he might do an easy half-mile next week.”
Awesome Speed won a fees-paid entry into the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown in the ‘Win & You’re In’ Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park April 9. The son of Awesome Again was placed first in the $100,000 Preakness prep, in which he came up a nose short after being bumped by the first-place finisher in deep stretch.
“We plan on running. Maybe we can get a small piece,” trainer Alan Goldberg said. “We got a free ride to get in there, so that was the plan.”
Awesome Speed broke his maiden in his second career start and came right back to win the James F. Lewis III Stakes at Laurel last November. In his 2016 debut, the Kentucky-bred colt won his third race in a row, capturing the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park as the 3-5 favorite Jan. 2. He was bumped at the start and finished fourth in the Feb. 27 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream before earning a Preakness berth in the Federico Tesio.
“Everything’s good. We’ll take a shot,” Goldberg said.
Derby Runners Exaggerator, Suddenbreakingnews Return to Track
Preakness candidates Exaggerator and Suddenbreakingnews, the runner-up and fifth-place finisher, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby, returned to the racetrack at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning.
Exaggerator, who finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Nyquist after making a strong stretch run, galloped a mile under Peedy Landry, who reported that the son of Curlin “felt great” during his morning exercise.
Exaggerator is scheduled be shipped by van to Pimlico on Sunday.
Suddenbreakingnews, who made a late surge to finish fifth in the Derby after encountering early trouble and dropping back to 19th, jogged 1 ¼ miles under exercise rider Ramiro Gorosteita.
“He had plenty of energy,” trainer Donnie Von Hemel reported.
Cherry Wine, who did not draw into the Kentucky Derby off the also-eligible list, jogged two miles under Faustino Aguilar Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans.
Brody’s Cause, who was seventh in the Kentucky Derby for Romans, is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday.
Pimlico Race Course