Anne M. Eberhardt

Champion Nyquist Undergoes Colic Surgery

Son of Uncle Mo expected to start breeding season on schedule.

Champion and classic winner Nyquist , who is set to stand his first season at Darley in 2017, is currently recovering at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute after undergoing successful colic surgery Dec. 22.

According to Darley chief operating officer Dan Pride, Nyquist began showing signs of discomfort in his stall two nights ago and was operated on early Thursday morning. Barring any further setbacks in his recovery, the son of Uncle Mo  is expected to be able to begin breeding season on schedule in February. He is scheduled to stand for $40,000 in his initial season.

"He was just uncomfortable in the stall and our night watch contacted our stallion manager, Graham Lovatt and (director of farm operations) Michael Banahan, and they made the decision to take him to Hagyard," Pride said of Nyquist. "The team there did a great job. They quickly diagnosed him and got it taken care of."

Pride said Nyquist's surgery was "about as straightforward as you could have, given the situation" and credited both the Darley staff and Hagyard team for catching the colt's ailment early.

"There was a little twist that they had to undo, but it was very straightforward," Pride said. "Assuming he has a normal recovery, and there is no reason he shouldn't, he'll be available to start the breeding season in February on schedule."

Nyquist, the champion 2-year-old male of 2015, was officially retired to Darley after being declared out of the Nov. 5 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) a week before that race due to what trainer Doug O'Neill deemed a puffy ankle. That ailment brought an anti-climatic close to what had been a season of peaks and valleys for the 3-year-old bay runner who spent much of the first half of the year as the pro-tem leader of the sophomore male division.

Campaigned by Reddam Racing, Nyquist was unbeaten in his first eight career starts including victories in the 2015 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and his 1 1/4-length triumph in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 7. His third-place run in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) marked his first defeat and he also suffered off-the-board runs in the betfair.com Haskell Invitational (gr. I) and Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II).

Bred by Summerhill Farm and out of the Forestry mare Seeking Gabrielle, Nyquist retired with eight wins from 11 starts— including five grade I scores over five different tracks—and earned $5,189,200. Darley secured the breeding rights to Nyquist in November 2015, shortly after his Breeders' Cup triumph.

"We're very optimistic," said Darley president Jimmy Bell. "In most of these cases, when you catch them early enough, your chances improve greatly over something else getting to be more problematic. We have a very alert crew and had a very good response from the Hagyard team."