Kentucky Derby favorite Nyquist jogs ‘sound’ first full day at Churchill Downs

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

May 1st, 2016

Undefeated champion Nyquist jogged a mile on Sunday at Churchill Downs. It was the likely Kentucky Derby favorite’s first time training beneath the Twin Spires, and trainer Doug O’Neil said “He went great.”

O’Neill probably isn’t the most impartial observer, but he did look relaxed walking back to the barn behind J. Paul Reddam’s multiple Grade 1 winner.

West Coast-based clocker Gary Young, a longtime Kentucky Derby week morning observer, had more constructive observations.

“He galloped sound, and for those on the Nyquist bandwagon, that’s what you want,” Young said. “When you’re seven-for-seven you’re not looking to change much, and O’Neill clearly knows what he’s doing with this horse.”

O’Neill won the 2012 Derby with I’ll Have Another, and Young said that he expects Thursday, May 5, to be the day that will most indicate to him whether Nyquist is up to the 1 ¼ mile test on Saturday, May 7.

Nyquist put in his last serious workout for the Kentucky Derby on Friday, April 29, at Keeneland, going one mile in 1:41.

“He could not have come out of his work any better,” O’Neill said. “He ate up everything in sight, and [on Saturday] morning we put a new pair of shoes on him. He’s doing unbelievably well, and we’re ready to … run in the Derby.”

Also on the track Sunday at Churchill Downs were the Steve Asmussen-trained pair of Arkansas Derby winner Creator and Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner. They are expected to workout on Monday along with possibly Mor Spirit, who Young said trainer Bob Baffert told him could go on Tuesday if not Monday.

For all of Young’s insights from Sunday’s activity, watch the video below.

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