LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby by 1 ¼ lengths on Saturday, improving to 8-0 in his career as the fourth consecutive favorite to win the race.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist ran 1 ¼ miles in 2:01.31. The 3-year-old colt became the eighth unbeaten winner in the race’s 142-year history. He paid $6.60, $4.80 and $3.60 as the 2-1 favorite in the full field of 20 horses.
Nyquist delivered a second Derby win for Gutierrez, trainer Doug O’Neill and owner J. Paul Reddam. They were the team behind 2012 Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another.
Exaggerator returned $5.40 and $4.20, while Gun Runner was another 3 ¼ lengths back in third and paid $6 to show.
Nyquist enjoyed a perfect trip over the Churchill Downs dirt in front of 167,227, the second-largest crowd in Derby history. The colt broke well out of the 13th post and showed some early speed getting away from the gate. Gutierrez eased Nyquist back to let speedster Danzing Candy take the lead going into the chaotic first turn.
Nyquist stayed just off the lead and Gutierrez kept him in the clear, steering him to the outside on the final turn. Nyquist and Gun Runner overtook tiring leader Danzing Candy at the top of the stretch.
Gun Runner was only in front briefly before Nyquist showed a strong finishing kick. He put away Gun Runner and sped to the finish line, with Exaggerator closing but never threatening after coming from well back.
Mohaymen finished fourth and Suddenbreakingnews was fifth.
A year ago, American Pharoah won the Derby, launching his run to the sport’s first Triple Crown in 37 years.
Now Nyquist is the only horse in position to replicate the feat.
Destin was sixth, followed by Brody’s Cause, Mo Tom, Lani and Mor Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, who guided American Pharoah last year. My Man Sam was 11th, followed by Tom’s Ready, Creator, Outwork, Danzing Candy, Trojan Nation, Oscar Nominated, Majesto and Whitmore. Shagaf didn’t finish.
Odds favorite Nyquist stormed into the lead on the turn for home and won the Kentucky Derby to become just the eighth undefeated horse to win the Run for the Roses.
With his 1 ¼-length win over Exaggerator on Saturday, Nyquist ran his unbeaten record to 8 for 8 heading into the Preakness in two weeks. The last Derby winner to go into the second leg of the Triple Crown undefeated was Big Brown 2008.
A year after American Pharoah won the Derby on the way to becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, Nyquist just may be on a similar path. The son of Uncle Mo was the 2-1 favorite in the full field of 20 3-year-olds,
The winning time for 1 ¼ miles was 2:01.31.
Nyquist, named for NHL player Gustav Nyquist, gives owner J. Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez their second Derby winner. I’ll Have Another won the Derby and Preakness in 2012 but was retired the day before the race with a leg injury.
A crowd of 167,227 saw the race under sunny skies. It’s the second-largest crowd in Derby history, behind the 170,513 last year that saw American Pharoah win.