Nyquist looks strong in the San Vicente

February 15th 2016 (82 days away from the Kentucky Derby)


Nyquist wins the San Vicente – photo Credit: http://www.santaAnita.com

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.

1) Mohaymen 
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

2) Nyquist 
Career: 6 Starts 6-0-0-0
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.79 – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100 – San Vicente Stakes