Reddam Racing's Nyquist returned to the track May 11 for the first time since scoring an impressive triumph in the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), acquainting himself with the Pimlico Race Course surface during a once-around jog in the company of Satire, one of trainer Doug O'Neill's stable ponies.
Nyquist, who is undefeated in eight career starts, is slated to continue his Triple Crown quest in the 141st Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico May 21.
"Nyquist jogged great this morning. He continues to put big smiles on all of the guys' faces in the barn," said O'Neill's assistant, Jack Sisterson, who supervised the morning exercise atop the pony that escorted Nyquist during his leisurely jog.
Nyquist, who arrived at Pimlico from Churchill Downs May 9, went to the track at 8:30 a.m. EDT following the renovation break. The son of Uncle Mo was ridden by Amir Cedeno, who subbed for regular exercise rider Jonny Garcia. Garcia is scheduled to reunite with the Derby winner the morning of May 12 around 8:30 a.m. for a planned twice-around jog.
"We just wanted to see him move efficiently, and he did everything and more that we wanted to see this morning," Sisterson said. "It's like our own little training center. It's great. It's quiet out there. Our horses out there had their ears pricked taking it all in. It was really nice out there."
The first Preakness candidate on the grounds, Nyquist was followed on the track by Reddam Racing's Land Over Sea, the runner-up in the May 6 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) who is being pointed to the 92nd Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies May 20.
"She did great also. We're very pleased with the way she came out of the Oaks," Sisterson said.
O'Neill, who returned to his Southern California base May 8 to check on his stable, is scheduled to be at Pimlico the morning of May 12 to oversee Nyquist's morning exercise. He combined with owner J. Paul Reddam and jockey Mario Gutierrez for a 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness double with I'll Have Another, who was also shipped to Pimlico on the Monday following the first leg of the Triple Crown.
"It's great having the experience of having the success with I'll Have Another. It just makes you wake up every morning wanting it that much more," Sisterson said. "We've slightly changed a few things with Nyquist's training regime. We galloped I'll Have Another every day, where with Nyquist we jog him one day and gallop him the other day."
After Nyquist was bathed, cooled out, and returned to Stall 24 in Barn D, Sisterson expressed pleasure with the Preakness candidate's post-Derby condition.
"Moving forward, we're optimistic. Our main concern is keeping him happy and healthy," Sisterson said. "He's shown us every day that he's doing that."
Meanwhile, Dale Romans-trained Cherry Wine, unraced since a third-place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill May 11 under Faustino Aguilar. The Romans-trained Blue Grass winner Brody's Cause returned to the Churchill track for the first time since his seventh-place Derby finish, galloping two miles under Miguel Garcia.
Mark Casse-trained Fellowship galloped a mile at Churchill under exercise rider Brian O'Leary. It was the first day on track for Fellowship since his fourth-place finish in Saturday's Pat Day Mile (gr. III).
Norm Casse, assistant to his father, said Fellowship probably would ship to Pimlico the afternoon of May 16 as part of the barn's 12-horse contingent for Preakness weekend races.
Dazzling Gem is slated to ship from Churchill to Pimlico May 18 after trainer Brad Cox decided not to enter the son of Misremembered in Saturday's Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park. After Dazzling Gem jogged a mile and galloped a mile May 11, Cox said Dazzling Gem will run in either the Preakness or the $100,000 Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds on the undercard. Cox said Dazzling Gem is scheduled to work May 14 or 15, but noted the drill would not be the final determining factor as to which race he goes in.
"I want to see who is in the Preakness and what the owner wants to do," said Cox, who trains the fourth-place Arkansas Derby (gr. I) finisher for Steve Landers Racing.