LEXINGTON, KY. (WDRB) – Jockey Mario Gutierrez called Nyquist “mature” Friday but trainer Doug O’Neill used a different word to describe the early favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby.
“He’s a playboy,” said O’Neill
Yes it appears the winner of the Florida Derby had no problem with all the attention received at Keeneland Friday.
In fact, he loved it.
“He was checking out the crowd,” said O’Neill. “He knows he’s good and he likes to flaunt it.”
Nyquist certainly looked good in his final work at Keeneland Friday, going a mile in 1:41. He started two lengths back of his stablemate Ralis then surged ahead to finish strong.
“I was looking for a good gallop in and a good gallop out,” said O’Neill, who trained “I'll Have Another” to a victory at the Kentucky Derby in 2012. “I wanted to hear Mario be happy and I got all of that."
“(He’s) just nice, peaceful, and calm,” said Gutierrez, who was the jockey for “I'll Have Another” four years ago. “It’s a great mentality for a race horse.”
And it’s that mentality that’s helped Nyquist to a perfect 7 for 7 start in his career.
“I know we are the favorite and there’s pressure,” said Gutierrez. ”But I 100% believe in that horse.”
So it’s one more night here at Keeneland for Nyquist. On Saturday he ships to Churchill where it sounds like he’ll take it easy in the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
“The rest will be a little jog and a little gallop,” said O’Neill.
Call him mature or call him a playboy.
Soon we also could be calling him a Kentucky Derby winner.
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