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LEXINGTON, KY – Klaravich Stables homebred Highly Motivated drew clear in mid-stretch with relative ease to win Friday’s $125,000 Nyquist Stakes at Keeneland.
Breaking from the rail as the 5/2 favorite, Highly Motivated settled into a mid-pack stalking position while continuing to save ground down the backstretch.
Quick Tempo lived up to his name, outhustling Roderick for the early lead before posting opening fractions of :21.73 and :44.65, but Roderick tipped out two-wide in the far turn and launched his attack.
While those two began fighting heads apart at the 3/16 pole, Castellano wheeled Highly Motivated out three-wide and set him down for the stretch run home.
Sweeping past the front-runners in mid-stretch, the Chad Brown trainee crossed 4 1/4 lengths the best while completing the 6 1/2-furlong fast dirt sprint in 1:14.99.
Quick Tempo re-engaged late and took second by 3/4 of a length over Roderick, while 6 3/4 lengths further back, a late-moving Awesome Gerry nailed Sir Wellington by a neck for fourth.
Saffa’s Day, Upstriker, and Assertive Style completed the order of finish.
Twilight Blue was scratched from the race restricted to 2-year-olds.
Highly Motivated’s win was his second straight following a 1 3/4-length maiden-breaking effort at Belmont Park while going this same distance. The Into Mischief colt, second on debut by a neck over a muddy Saratoga main track, has now earned $124,050.
Highly Motivated returned $7.20 to win, $3.80 to place, and $3 to show. Quick Tempo brought back $5.80 to place and $3.80 to show, while Roderick paid $6.40 to show.
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