Very few horse owners ever know the joy of winning the Kentucky Derby; even fewer know the joy of winning it twice.
Asked after Nyquist’s win what accounted for his extraordinary success, Reddam said a sportswriter “told me I was the luckiest guy in horse racing 10 years ago, and that’s it. I’ve been very lucky to be with these guys,” referring to trainer Doug O’Neill and his brother, Dennis, who found Nyquist.
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Reddam, 60, grew up in Windsor, Ontario, and his mother was the team secretary for the Detroit Red Wings. She brought home team shirts, prompting a deep love for hockey that has led him to name his horses after Red Wings players, including this one, named for Gustav Nyquist.
Before Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, Reddam arranged to have the Stanley Cup visit his horse in the barn for luck.
Hockey and the horses also played a part in the ownership of the horse: one of the friends who often buys a piece of Reddam’s stable is Colorado Avalanche player Erik Johnson, who said he would never play for the Red Wings.
Johnson wanted to go in on Nyquist, but the superstitious Reddam said no.
“It’s become quite the story in the Detroit area,” Reddam said Saturday. “I heard last night before the Tigers game they were showing clips of the horse Nyquist.”
Reddam has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Southern California but founded two very lucrative high-interest loan companies, Ditech.com and CashCall, which has allowed him to invest wisely in Thoroughbreds.
Reddam has said he got hooked on racing in high school, skipping school to go bet with a friend who was a groom at a local harness track.
“When I came out to California in 1979, I was working on my doctorate. I went to Santa Anita one day and, oh my God, look at this place,” Reddam said in 2012. “I was fortunate enough to see, the first year I was there, Spectacular Bid, his run. I was hooked. I never really dreamed that I would be in a position to own racehorses, but I got very lucky in my life and it happened. I guess I'm still pretty lucky.”
He bought Nyquist, from the first crop of Uncle Mo, for $400,000 as a 2-year-old at the Fasig Tipton sale in February 2015. Besides I’ll Have Another, Reddam also has owned Square Eddie, 2006 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Red Rocks, 2004 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko, Elloluv, Sharp Lisa, Cash Included, Swept Overboard and Spring At Last.
Nyquist was bred by Summerhill Farm’s Tim Hyde Jr., who bought Nyquist’s mother, Seeking Gabrielle, for $45,000 at the Keeneland January 2011 sale. The mare failed to get in foal that year so the next year the Irish breeder sent her to a new stallion, Uncle Mo, who had been a champion 2-year-old and was now standing at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud. Hyde entered the pregnant mare in the Keeneland November sale, but she failed to sell after bidding stalled at $90,000.
Both the mare and her weanling sold at the Keeneland November 2013 sale — Seeking Gabrielle for $100,000 and the weanling that would become Nyquist for $180,000. Nyquist later sold again in the Keeneland September 2014 yearling sale for $230,000.
Before the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist had already won a record $3.3 million, including the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile championships.