Nyquist Ships East Seeking Bonus and Respect in Florida Derby

The undefeated juvenile champion of 2015 Nyquist ships east on Saturday looking to regain the role of betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby along with a $1 million bonus for winning the Florida Derby.

The colt was perfect in five starts in 2015 and was the early wagering favorite for the Kentucky Derby after his win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which locked up the Eclipse Award for top juvenile of 2015.

However, while he was resting, the talented Mohaymen reeled off four wins, the Nashua and Remsen in New York last November and then he started off his 2016 campaign by winning the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.

The colt is now perfect in five career starts and is the betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby at odds of 4-1.

After his win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Nyquist was on the sidelines for 3 ½ months, returning winning the seven-furlong San Vicente at Santa Anita on Feb. 15. The race serves as a prep for the Santa Anita Derby, but as a sales graduate at Fasig-Tipton, the colt is eligible for a $1 million bonus for winning the Florida Derby, so his connections have decided to ship him to Florida.

O’Neill insists the Florida Derby was always the plan

“After we got lucky in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, that was the decision we made, where he’d go in the San Vicente and then the Florida Derby,” O’Neill said. “Usually in life, when you make a plan, you’ve got to call some audibles, but so far things have unfolded the way we wanted. The million dollar bonus does come into play a little bit, but it was our intent to go in the Florida Derby.”

The colt is currently the second choice in Kentucky Derby betting at 8-1. For Saturday’s race, he is the second choice at 6-5, with Mohaymen installed as the even money favorite, but likely to go off at a shorter price.

However, a win on Saturday by Nyquist would not only mean a $1.6 million payday, it could return him to the role of early Kentucky Derby favorite with just five weeks to go before the first Saturday of May.

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