Nyquist Wins the 142nd Kentucky Derby as a 2-to-1 Favorite
Nyquist won the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, as many bettors assumed he would. Bookmakers had Nyquist as the favorite to win the world’s most prestigious horse race.
Nyquist finished half a body-length ahead of Exaggerator. It was the fourth time Nyquist has beaten Exaggerator in a race, but Exaggerator’s people still feel like they have a shot at the Preakness. Exaggerator won 2nd place, but had to surge to get from the back of the pack of 20 horses.
Kent Desormeaux, who rode Exaggerator, said that he knew his horse did not have a chance after a hesitation which left him way behind the leaders. Desormeaux said, “My horse slammed on the brakes and ducked back to the inside and then took off.”
How the Horse Finished
Nyquist came into the race as a 2-to-1 favorite to win. Exaggerator and Gun Runner were tied for third with 13-to-2 odds, and they finished 2nd and 3rd in the race. Before the Kentucky Derby, Mohaymen, which finished in 4th place, had the second-best odds at 9-to-2. Mor Spirit had the next-best odds at 15-to-2, but finished a disappointing 10th place.
Suddenbreakingnews, a horse owned by Samuel F. Henderson and trained by Donnie Von Hemmel, finished in 5th place. Lani, a thoroughbred owned by Yoko Maeda and trained by Mikio Matsunaga, was expected to be a pace horse on Saturday. Lani had won 3 races and placed 2nd in two others in six career starts, but the value of those races are in some question. Despite that, a large contingent of Japanese sports media members covered the race, but were disappointed when Lani was slow breaking from the gate.
Nyquist’s Triple-Crown Chances
Nyquist is now a perfect 8-for-8 in his career races. He was the first thoroughbred to win the Breeders Cup Juvenile category to enter the Kentucky Derby with a perfect record.
Nyquist also was the 27th undefeated horse to run in the Kentucky Derby. Of those twenty-six previous entrants, sixteen of them were the favorite in the race. Of those sixteen horses, only 6 of them won the race. Now, Nyquist is the seventh.
J. Paul Reddam on Nyquist
Based on those numbers, even Nyquist’s owner, J. Paul Reddam, said prior to the race he would bet against his horse. Reddam, who said he is a hockey fan, said he named his thoroughbred after Detroit Red Wings player Gustav Nyquist.
After the race, Reddam said it did his heart well to see his horse win, after a year of criticism. Reddam said, “I feel really good for the horse. because along the way the last year, he has taken a lot of shots for whatever reason. And I think he proved all his critics wrong today.”
Doug O’Neill on Nyquist
Doug O’Neill, Nyquist’s trainer, had a great deal more confidence coming into the race. O’Neill, who last had a horse in this position in 2012 with I’ll Have Another, believed his horse was deservedly the favorite.
O’Neill told race journalists in the week leading up to the race, “I’m optimistic we’re going to win. He’s definitely shown us that he’s going to run a big race.”
A Look Ahead to the Preakness
Most of the top finishers at the Kentucky Derby are expected to race in the Preakness Stakes two weeks from now at Pimlico in Maryland. All of the horse are said to have come out of Churchill Downs in good health.
The Preakness is a longer race, which provides its own set of challenges. A slip-up out of the gate is not quite as unforgiving. Stamina is a bit more of a factor, so all of Saturday’s challengers can feel like they have a chance to beat the certain favorite going into Pimlico. If Nyquist wins the Preakness, he’ll have a shot three weeks later to win the Triple-Crown with a win of the Belmont Stakes in Belmont Park in New York.
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