Everyone's talking about Nyquist this Derby season, and for some very good reasons.
Like all Derby hopefuls, Nyquist is a three-year-old Thoroughbred horse, but even among his peers he stands out.
The bay colt has been turning the heads of bettors, trainers, owners, and racing enthusiasts this spring, making him the acknowledged favorite for this year's Kentucky Derby win.
Here are a few of the reasons Nyquist is getting such rave reviews.
And it's not that he hasn't been raced. During his two-year-old season, Nyquist won his very first time out, and simply never stopped. He would win three more graded stakes races that season before taking on -- and besting -- the country's greatest two-year-olds in the prestigious Breeder's Cup Juvenile.
He started his third season in the same manner, winning the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita in February before shipping across the country to win again in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. On top of his honors on the racetrack, Nyquist also received the 2015 Eclipse Award for Champion Two-Year-Old.
He has shown perseverance.
Though Nyquist may make his wins look easy, he hasn't always had an easy time. In fact, the Breeder's Cup Juvenile, arguably his greatest victory, was a very challenging race for him. After being bumped by another horse early on in the race, he got stuck very wide in both turns.
Yet, despite this ground loss he fought to gain back the lead and won by half a length. In a race like the Derby, this kind of perseverance can prove invaluable.
Nyquist is not a one-trick pony, and this may be one of his greatest qualities as a racehorse. He can run -- and win -- in many different scenarios.
During most of his two-year-old season he set or ran close to a fast pace. In the Breeder's Cup Juvenile he waited patiently behind other horses before accelerating at the stretch. And in his most recent race, the Florida Derby, he took the early lead, set a moderate pace, and won with little encouragement from his jockey.
Nyquist, it seems, can do anything.
He'll be entering the race with fresh legs.
Four years ago Nyquist's trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez were entering the Derby with another exciting star, I'll Have Another, a colt who would go on to win the Derby and the Preakness before scratching from the Belmont due to an injury.
Because of this experience, Nyquist's team has been very careful with his training, only entering him in two prep races this season. This careful plan could make a big difference.
Sure, looks don't win races, but they do help garner support from bettors and enthusiasts, and Nyquist has the looks. From his beautiful bay coat color to his expressive face, he is simply the picture of a champion.
Though the "Run For The Roses" on the first Saturday in May is always a gamble, Nyquist remains the favorite. And with his flawless record and his team's careful planning, it just makes sense.
You can watch the Kentucky Derby on NBC this year. Here is the schedule:
|5:30-6PM ET||May 4||Post Position Draw||NBC Sports Network|
|12:30-6PM ET||May 6||Kentucky Oaks 142||NBC Sports Network|
|12-4PM ET||May 7||Kentucky Derby Undercard||NBC Sports Network|
|4-7:30PM ET||May 7||Kentucky Derby 142
6:34pm ET Kentucky Derby Post Time