Is Nyquist ready for a trip back to the winner’s circle? That’s the question on everyone’s mind as the three-year old champion continues his preparations for the high-end summer stakes. He continued to breeze at Santa Anita in convincing fashion and all signs point to a long-term plan of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Where the Reddam Racing prodigy ends up in between now and then is the other question’s everyone’s begging to be answered.
“I’m going to meet with [Paul Reddam] on Wednesday, so we should know more Thursday,” O’Neill said. “You can circle a race like the Derby when you’re heading that way, but that’s not the case now. You’re at a point where you’re going to run him when he’s right.”
Slow playing Nyquist’s plans has always been the strategy, and it’s especially pertinent given what happened at the 2016 Preakness Stakes. The previously undefeated horse not only finished third after failing to properly navigate a sloppy track, he also came down with a fever that took him out of the Belmont. Whether that fever was a result of the travel schedule, the intensity of the Triple Crown or the bad conditions at Pimlico on that weekend is an unanswered question. Keeping Nyquist ready on the west coast will make his pathway to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita that much easier.
The obvious choices with Nqyuist ready remain the Travers Stakes or the San Diego Handicap.
“When you say a specific race and it doesn’t work out, there is a lot of second-guessing, so I don’t know if my stress level can handle being painted in a corner. We’ll let the horse tell us and hopefully it will be soon.”
With Nyquist ready, horse players around the world are ready to get back behind him. He has not lost our faith yet and with a trainer like O’Neill at the helm you can rest assured that he’ll be the horse to beat no matter which prep race he chooses on route to the world championships and the biggest race in North America.