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Among Peers, Nyquist Has No Equal

Posted by Webster Washington on 5/10/2016 2:35:30 AM

Ever since his triumph in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year, we've been trying to beat Nyquist. And by we, I mean me, maybe you, Mohaymen, Exaggerator and every other good 3-year-old in North America. All to no avail. And when Nyquist got his stalking trip in the Kentucky Derby (in a fast pace at that), got the lead late, and held off a late charge, we all knew why our efforts were futile.

Now let's review this rich champion's resume in terms of basic horse-racing handicapping categories, and realize why he'll again be a heavy favorite in the upcoming second leg of the Triple Crown, The Preakness Stakes.

How Nyquist Rates

Class: He's won everything, eight races to be exact, including five Grade 1 races, more than any other 3-year-old.

Pace: He likes to stalk, but can run from the front if the field isn't up to his level.

Form: Again, he's won everything, with his last two about a month apart, and break of six weeks before that. The Preakness is May 21, so he'll have to come back sooner than he ever has. But that applies to the other Derby horses, too.

Connections: The combination of owner Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez, have now won the Derby twice. And their first Derby winner, I'll Have Another, also won the Preakness.

Speed: His figures seem to improve. After a 94 Beyer in the Florida Derby, he picked up a 103 in the Kentucky Derby. That's no American Pharoah, but he's getting there.

Distance: He's now conquered a 1 1/8, and 1 1/4 miles in the same season. He'll have to go 1/16 mile less in the Preakness than in the Derby. Even though his pedigree doesn't necessarily imply distance, he'll have to prove to me that he can't go longer.

Nobody But Nyquist to Win

That's a strong record for Nyquist. His only concern for the upcoming Preakness, is more rested horses he hasn't faced before. But I'm throwing up the white flag of surrender against him, at least until he shows some major faults. He may go off at even odds or better in the Preakness, so I'll play him in exotics with more pricey horses, and just hope they (dare I say) beat him.

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