Sidelines with John Clay

All’s well with Nyquist as the Kentucky Derby favorite jogs at Keeneland

Nyquist, with red shadowroll, leaves the track Tuesday morning after a jog at Keeneland.
Nyquist, with red shadowroll, leaves the track Tuesday morning after a jog at Keeneland. Lexington Herald-Leader

I’ve been on Nyquist watch the past couple of mornings, arriving at Keeneland in time for his morning jog/gallop, then checking in with assistant trainer Jack Sisterson for a progress report.

So far, so good.

The probable Kentucky Derby favorite jogged over the track again Tuesday morning and everything went as planned.

“It was very simple,” said Sisterson, who is watching over the Keeneland barn while head trainer Doug O’Neill is at the home base in California. “It was his regular. He jogged twice. He showed everything we wanted to. He’s happy, we’re happy.”

Nyquist, owned by Paul Reddam, won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last October. As a 3-year-old, he won the San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 15 and the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 2. He shipped to Keeneland the day after the Florida Derby.

Sisterson said Nyquist will gallop Wednesday, jog Thursday, then work on Friday. The horse worked last Friday, covering five furlongs in 1:02.60 in front of O’Neill, who came in to watch.

O’Neill, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2012 with I’ll Have Another, is expected back at the Keeneland barn on Thursday morning. He’ll watch the work Friday, then travel to Charles Town in West Virginia where O’Neill will run Donworth in the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic.

There is rain in the Lexington forecast for Friday, but Sisterson said it hasn’t been decided yet how that might affect Nyquist’s schedule.

“I’m not sure what the weather forecast (says),” Sisterson said. “(If it’s) raining, there are a few options we have in mind.”

One could be the Keeneland training track with its Polytrack surface. O’Neill said last week the option of using the training track in bad weather was one of the reasons he brought Nyquist to Keeneland.

“Breeders’ Cup week we went (to the training track) several times,” Sisterson said. “And that worked out well.”

Bottom line?

“He looks very well,” Sisterson said. “We’re very optimistic at this point.”

Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

Rank

Horse

Points

1

Gun Runner

151

2

Nyquist

130

3

Exaggerator

126

4

Outwork

120

5

Brody's Cause

114

6

Creator

110

7

Lani

100

8

Mor Spirit

84

9

Mohaymen

80

10

Danzig Candy

60

11

Destin

51

12

Suddenbreakingnews

50

13

Oscar Nominated

50

14

Shagaf

50

15

Whitmore

44

16

Tom's Ready

44

17

My Man Sam

40

18

Majesto

40

19

Trojan Nation

40

20

Mo Tom

32

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