Reddam Racing’s Nyquist, the favorite for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), continued his preparations for the 142nd Run for the Roses by working five furlongs in 1:01.80 over a fast track at Keeneland shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday.
With regular exercise rider Jonny Garcia aboard, Nyquist started the work about a half-length behind Hopeful (G1) winner Ralis, who had jockey Flavien Prat aboard. Nyquist drew even at the head of the stretch and finished about a half-length in front.
Clockers caught Nyquist in fractions of :12, :23.80, :35.80, 1:01.80 and out six furlongs in 1:18.
It was the second work at Keeneland for Nyquist since he ran his undefeated streak to seven with a victory in the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) on April 2. He worked five furlongs on his own in 1:02.60 on April 15.
“We thought him going in company, he would do it easier,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “Sometimes when he is by himself, Jonny has to ask him a bit. We just thought in company it would be easier on him. He was strong early; he really wanted to go.”
Nyquist and Ralis jogged past the Grandstand back to the half-mile pole and began galloping just before the finish line. O’Neill had Nyquist going a mile in 1:51.
“I got him finishing up in :11 and change. It was a good piece of work,” O’Neill said before heading to the airport for a trip to West Virginia to send out Donworth in the Charles Town Classic (G2), which has a scheduled 6:05 p.m. post. “It was a maintenance move to keep him where he is and keep him happy.”
Nyquist is scheduled to walk Sunday and return to the track to jog Monday. His final Keeneland work is scheduled next Saturday with a van ride to Churchill Downs likely the next day.
O’Neill said a similar work will be in the cards for next weekend.
“We’ll play it by ear (as to whether he works in company or on his own0,” O’Neill said. “1:01 and change seems like a good number.”
Beginning this morning at Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses had a training time reserved for them between 8:30-8:45 a.m. after the renovation break.
“I will probably keep him in the 7 o’clock window,” O’Neill said. “That is the time he goes at home and I like to keep him in his routine and that keeps him happy.
“I think we will keep Land Over Sea at 9, because the later time works well for her.”
Land Over Sea, also owned by Reddam Racing, continued her Oaks preparation with a five-furlong breeze after the break in 1:02.20 with Garcia aboard.
Working on her own, Land Over Sea posted fractions of :12.20, :24.20, :36.40, 1:02.20 and out six furlongs in 1:17.60.
The work was similar to her breeze of April 15, when she covered the same distance in 1:02.80.
“That was by design, just a maintenance move,” said Jack Sisterson, assistant to O’Neill.
Winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in her most recent start, Land Over Sea is scheduled to work again next Saturday.
SERVIS LEANS TOWARD KENTUCKY OAKS AFTER BULLET WORK FROM CATHRYN SOPHIA
Cash is King LLC’s Cathryn Sophia, third in the Central Bank Ashland (G1) here April 9, breezed five furlongs in :59.60 Saturday after the renovation break with Paco Lopez aboard. The move, which marked her first work since the race, was the fastest of the morning for five furlongs.
Clockers caught the 3-year-old, Maryland-bred daughter of Street Boss in fractions of :11.60, :23, :35, :59.60 and out in 1:12.60.
“It was pretty much what I wanted,” trainer John Servis said from Parx, while his son, Tyler, is with his two horses at Keeneland. “Kinda let her work on her own, but I wanted her to gallop out good, which she did. As long as she comes out of it good and everything’s good, I’ll talk to Mr. (Chuck) Zacney (Cash is King’s managing partner) today, and I’m sure we’ll make a decision before the end of the night.”
The decision is whether to enter Cathryn Sophia at Churchill Downs in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at 1 1/8 miles or the $200,000 Eight Belles (G2) at seven furlongs. Both races are on May 6. Cathryn Sophia has 80 Oaks qualifying points to place sixth among the top 14 point earners nominated to the Oaks.
“I would say after that work,” Servis said, “I’m leaning toward going (to the Oaks).”
Cathryn Sophia won the first four races of her career, including the Forward Gal (G2) and Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream, before the Central Bank Ashland. She has been at Keeneland since March 31.
Servis said the filly likely will head to Churchill Downs on May 1 or May 2. Before then, he said he “might blow her out a little before the race. I’ll let her tell me.”
Click here for Keeneland Racing Analyst Tom Leach’s interview with trainer Mike Maker, who will send out Da Big Hoss in today’s Dixiana Elkhorn (G2).
Magdalena Racing’s Dothraki Queen, second in the Darley Alcibiades (G1) and third in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) here last fall, worked five furlongs in 1:03.20 after the renovation break with Gary Stevens aboard.
“It was a solid work and Gary was happy with her,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “We are still on the fence about the (Kentucky) Oaks.”
Dothraki Queen, 16th in points earned toward the $1 million race, would need a couple of defections from the list of prospective entrants to make the field that is limited to 14 starters. …
Joe Ragsdale’s Sarah Sis, working toward a start in the $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) on May 7 at Churchill Downs, worked five furlongs in :59.80 after the break under jockey Florent Geroux. Ingrid Mason trains Sarah Sis. …
KathErine Ball’s Limousine Liberal, who set Keeneland’s 6½-furlong track record of 1:15.05 on April 9, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 before the renovation break. Trained by Ben Colebrook, Limousine Liberal clocked fractions of :37.20, 1:00.20 and out six furlongs in 1:13.20 in preparation for the $500,000 Churchill Downs (G2) on May 7. …
Southern Equine Stable and McCormick Racing’s Laoban, fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass (G1), worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 with Joe Bravo aboard. Trained by Eric Guillot, Laoban is pointing toward the Preakness (G1) as a Kentucky Derby (G1) berth appears unlikely. Laoban has 32 points toward the Derby, good for 23rd in the standings. The Derby is limited to 20 starters.
PROBABLE ENTRANTS FOR REMAINING STAKES
$150,000 BEWITCH (G3) (entries taken Tuesday; race Friday, April 29) – Achnaha (IRE), Button Down (GB), Generosidade (URU), Olorda (GER), Return to Grace.