By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The odds-on-favorite has won the Kentucky Derby. Last year, it was American Pharoah and on this Saturday afternoon, Nyquist added his name to the historic list of horses to win the derby.
Nyquist was the favorite almost immediately and becomes the eighth horse to win the Derby with an 8-0 mark. He needed 2:01:31 to win the race, which is the fastest since Funny Cide in 2003.
“It’s unreal,” jockey Mario Gutierrez said. “I have to thank my wife [Rebecca], who continued to believe in me. She believed in me when I felt down. Also, I have to thank Doug O’Neill, who never took this ride from me. Everything that he has given to me.”
Exaggerator finished second. Gun Runner was third in a tight finish with Suddenbreakingnews. It’s the fourth-time that Nyquist finished in front of Exaggerator, who has lost in every race against the horse named after a Detroit Red Wings player.
“In any human sport, he’ll be an elite athlete,” trainer O’Neill said. “He knows when to rest and brings his A game when he needs to.”
This is Gutierrez’s second Kentucky Derby. He also won in 2012 on I’ll Have Another.
Now with the win, Nyquist will look to continue his perfect mark at the Preakness in Maryland in a few weeks. He’ll have huge footsteps to live up to as American Pharoah went on to win the Triple Crown last year under Victor Espinoza.
Gutierrez let Nyquist burst out early, then pulled him back when Danzing Candy took the lead. That was before Nyquist took the lead from Danzing Candy with a three-eighths of a mile left.
Exaggerator closed fast, but Nyquist was able to hold off for the win. He won by 1 1/4 lengths.
He’s just the second horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at 2 and the Kentucky Derby at 3. Only Street Since was able to do that in 2006 in their 100-plus year history.
Nyquist is the fourth consecutive betting favorite to win the Derby.