Nyquist Seeking to Become Fourth Straight Kentucky Derby Winning Favorite

Can the undefeated Nyquist become the fourth straight betting favorite to win the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is considered one of the most wide open betting races in the world, with a field of 20 lightly raced three-year-olds going 1 ¼ miles, but the race has been won by the wagering favorite in each of the last three editions.

Orb was a lukewarm 5-1 in 2013, California Chrome and American Pharoah won as the favorite in the past two years, both at 5-2.

Now it is going to be Nyquist’s turn, the current betting favorite at 3-1, and he is likely to be sent off as the wagering favorite when a field of 20 break from the gate on the first Saturday of May for the first jewel of racing’s Triple Crown at Churchill Downs.

Perfect in seven career starts, the Doug O’Neill trainee is coming off a smart looking win in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park where he disposed of the highly regarded Mohaymen rather easily, recapturing the role as the betting favorite.

The colt has a solid foundation as a juvenile, winning five starts including three Grade 1 victories- the Del Mar Futurity, Frontrunner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

O’Neill has taken an unorthodox path this year, starting the colt off in the seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) where he earned a career top Beyer Speed Figure of 101.

The next logical step would be the Santa Anita Derby (G1), but because the colt was a graduate of a Florida Fasig Tipton sale, he was eligible for a $1 million bonus for winning the Florida Derby.

O’Neill also stated he liked the five-week break between the Florida Derby and the Run for the Roses. The trainer won the 2012 Run for the Roses with 15-1 longshot I’ll Have Another.

In the Florida Derby Mohaymen was actually sent off as the betting favorite and at the time he was the early betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby at 7-2 while Nyquist had drifted up to 8-1.

Nyquist won by 3 ¼ lengths and Mohaymen was beaten by 8 ¼ lengths in his fourth-place finish.

If 20 start as expected, the price on Nyquist might even drift up a bit, possibly to 4-1 or 9-2. Mohaymen is still going to get some respect, and Exaggerator is getting some attention after his Santa Anita Derby (G1) victory.

Exaggerator was listed at 20-1 at the beginning of April, but after his victory in the Santa Anita Derby on April 9 his price has gone south, currently at 8-1, and he looks like he is going to be a major threat to Nyquist.

Nyquist is going to have to run a career best to make it four betting favorites in a row in the two most exciting minutes in sports on Saturday.

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