February 15th 2016 (82 days away from the Kentucky Derby)
We are less than 12 weeks away from the Kentucky Derby and Nyquist solidified his position today as one of the top 2 Kentucky Derby contenders with an impressive win in the San Vincente Stakes at Santa Anita Park (shown below).
This was just a tune-up race to start Nyquist’s 3 year-old campaign, so I wasn’t expecting much. But Nyquist staved off Exaggerator to produce a final time was 1:20.71–third fastest time for this race and faster than Silver Charm’s time of 1:21.07 back in 1997. Silver Charm went on to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness before narrowly losing the Belmont Stakes and a Triple Crown by a half-length.
With Songbird’s owner Rick Porter stating that he will not enter the sensational 3 year-old filly in the Kentucky Derby, Mohaymen (undefeated in 4 starts) and Nyquist (undefeated in 6 starts) are the top two Kentucky Derby contenders as bettors affirmed yesterday in the most recent Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool. Mohaymen finished with 4/1 odds compared to Nyquist at 7/1. If bettors in the pool had this performance to judge from, I am sure that Nyquist would have finished at 5/1 or 9/2. These are extremely short odds for this early in the Derby prep season.
So where does Nyquist rank now in my opinion?
Right now, I would still rank Mohaymen ahead of Nyquist for the simple fact that Mohaymen has stretched out to 9 furlongs (1 1/8 mile) already and won. However, if you prorate Nyquist’s time in the 7 furlong San Vincente Stakes out to 1 mile (8 furlongs) using the slowest fraction of the race between the 4 furlong to 6 furlong distance (24.07), his time probably would have been below 1:33 (1:32.75). Keep in mind that the world record for 1 mile is 1:32.2. Mohaymen’s time through 1 mile in the last start in the Holy Bull Stakes was 1:36.04. So it will come down to whether Nyquist has developed stamina to stretch out to the Kentucky Derby distance of 10 furlongs (1 1/14 mile). There are a few critics who feel he is better suited as a Miler.
Career: 4 Starts 4-0-0-0
Best 1 Mile Time: 1:36.01 – Nashua Stakes
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.07 – Holy Bull Stakes
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.92 – Remsen Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95- Holy Bull Stakes