Nyquist, Songbird post works as connections map out plans

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December 27th, 2015

Nyquist and Songbird, the unbeaten duo who wrapped up respective divisional championships in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Juvenile Fillies (G1), both posted works at Santa Anita this weekend.

On Sunday, the Doug O’Neill-trained Nyquist negotiated a half-mile in :48 2/5 in his second work back, after a three-furlong spin in :37 on December 19.

“He worked great today,” O’Neill said. “He went :48 and change, just cruising.

“His regular exercise rider, Johnny Garcia, was on him and he was all smiles.”

O’Neill has mapped out his road to the Kentucky Derby (G1), a two-prep schedule involving one sprint and one route. The Uncle Mo colt is penciled in to reappear in the seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) on February 15, then stretch out to 1 1/8 miles in the April 2 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

But as ever with 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail, plans are fluid, pending health and weather.

“As long as he stays injury-free and El Nino doesn’t come blasting through the door, we’re on for the February 15 race,” O’Neill said.

“Timing-wise, after the San Vicente, the Florida Derby would be perfect, because it would be five weeks out before the Big Dance (the Kentucky Derby on May 7). In an ideal world, it would be the San Vicente, the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby.”

Star 2-year-old filly Songbird turned in her first work since her post-Breeders’ Cup vacation on Saturday, speeding three-eighths in :36 2/5. The Jerry Hollendorfer pupil is expected to make her sophomore debut in the February 6 Las Virgenes (G2), but connections are likewise keeping an eye on the Southern California weather over the winter.

“Everything would have to go right with the weather; we can’t miss anything,” assistant trainer Dan Ward said Sunday.

Photos courtesy, and copyright, Breeders' Cup Ltd.