Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist stretched his legs during a morning gallop at Pimlico Race Course the morning of May 13 in preparation for a start in the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The undefeated Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner, who was ridden by exercise rider Jonny Garcia, backtracked with a pony to the top of the first turn before reversing direction and galloping approximately a mile.
"Jonny was very happy with him, which is the main thing. He was much more relaxed early on in his gallop and then finished up strong. He's cooled out super. We're very happy the way the morning went," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "Tomorrow, he'll jog two miles. We'll just alternate the jogging and galloping. With two weeks in between, there's no reason to do much more."
Nyquist, who enjoyed a smooth stalking trip while registering a 1 1/4-length triumph at Churchill Downs, has impressed O'Neill with his post-Derby physical condition.
"I just noticed that he hasn't changed much. He's held his weight well, and I think that's a credit to the Derby being such a trouble-free, clean trip. It enabled him not to use more energy than he needed to. I hope the trip he got helps us in the race here, for sure," O'Neill said.
"He's eating great. His appetite is strong; his energy is great. He's really relaxed here. He has good energy on the track, so I'm really happy the way he's coming into it."
Reddam Racing's son of Uncle Mo has settled in well in Stall 24 in Barn D at Pimlico since arriving from Churchill May 9.
"He's so mature. I think we got to see that as a 2-year-old. He's been a horse that acts older than he is. To win five grade I's over five different tracks is pretty phenomenal," O'Neill said. "He's adjusted to things here at Pimlico. He's settled in. Our 24-hour security guards are even mentioning how he's sleeping all night. We're just very happy the way he's matured."
Team O'Neill was planning to attend the Orioles-Tigers baseball game Friday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
"Being from Detroit and loving Baltimore, it's a perfect matchup," the Michigan native said.
Grade II winner Land Over Sea also had her first gallop over the main track at Pimlico ahead of a possible engagement in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) May 20.
Like Nyquist, who shares the same connections in owner J. Paul Reddam, O'Neill, and jockey Mario Gutierrez, the 3-year-old Bellamy Road filly had jogged for two days since arriving in Baltimore Monday afternoon.
In a change from the previous two days, O'Neill sent Land Over Sea out before Nyquist Friday, with Garcia aboard on a foggy and misty morning.
"We were worried about rain, so we just thought we'd try to jump ahead of it," O'Neill said. "It's like being at a training center; it's so tranquil and nice out there."
O'Neill was pleased with the interest shown by Land Over Sea, winner of the March 26 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). Most recently, she closed from far back to run second behind Cathryn Sophia in the May 6 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill.
"I thought she went great. She showed a lot of energy," O'Neill said. "Just like Nyquist, Jonny said at Churchill when both of them would gallop, they were really on the muscle the whole gallop. Here, after they jog their mile and went into their gallop, they were a little bit more settled and the gallop got stronger, which is ideally what you like to see. She was very controlled and very strong, really jumping a long way and looked real happy. She cooled out really good."
Citing the quick two-week turnaround, O'Neill will continue to monitor Land Over Sea before committing to the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan, run one day before Nyquist goes after the second leg of the Triple Crown in Saturday's 141st Preakness.
"We're penciling in the Black-Eyed Susan. We're just going to kind of play that by ear. She's not as locked into it as Nyquist is locked into the Preakness, but we have very strong feelings that that's where we're going with her," O'Neill said. "The big concern is whether or not she's up for it. We continue to monitor the feed tub and that speaks volumes there, and her energy. She's usually very energetic on the track so if we see that normal energy, that will push us even more to Friday's race."