Trainer Doug O'Neill was on hand April 14 at Keeneland to supervise the quiet morning exercise of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Nyquist , who jogged two laps on the Lexington oval under exercise rider Jonny Garcia while accompanied by assistant trainer Jack Sisterson on the pony.
"It's kind of what we've been doing back home, he'll have one jog two miles and then galloping a mile and a quarter the next day, we kind of alternate, and it worked back home so we figured hopefully it will work here," O'Neill said. "He looked good, looked loose, and we're excited to breeze him tomorrow. That's the plan."
Reddam Racing's Nyquist, who has kept to an easy training schedule since arriving at Keeneland April 3, is expected to turn in his first work since wining the April 2 Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (gr. I) April 15 around 7 a.m. EDT at Keeneland.
"It's kind of his standard thing; he'll go a mile but (the clockers) will probably only pick up the last half," O'Neill said. "He kind of two-minute licks for a half-mile and then he'll work a half. It's a pretty good piece of exercise. It's been good for his mind and body so we want to keep that going."
Nyquist is to have three works at Keeneland leading up to the Kentucky Derby, and will ship to Churchill Downs the week of the race, O'Neill said. The champion son of Uncle Mo who last year won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) holds a 7-for-7 record and handled his first stretch out to 1 1/8 miles by winning the Florida Derby by a 3 1/4-length margin over longshot Majesto.
"He came out of it in great shape and we loved the idea of coming right to Kentucky instead of bringing him back to California," the trainer remarked. "(The five-week window between the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby) turned out to be a blessing because we had a couple extra walk days because of the white (blood cell) count, so I think it's been great."