by Laura Pugh
California dominated the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, as Nyquist and Swipe brought their rivalry to Keeneland, finishing 1-2, and as always, Nyquist used his incredible nose for the wire to just outlast the hard-closing Swipe. The son of Uncle Mo did his sire proud, employing new tactics to gain the victory.
Normally running close the pace, Nyquist rated in the second flight while getting floated several horses wide into the first turn. It wasn’t until halfway through the far turn that the colt made his move, circling another four wide to inhale Canadian invader Riker.
For a moment, it looked as though Nyquist would turn the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile into a runaway, but rival Swipe would have none of that, as he came with his patent late run. At the wire, he managed to close the gap to less than a length, but the fact still remains Nyquist remained unbeaten, finding the wire first once again.
“He’s always been a really good colt,” jockey Mario Gutierrez. “He builds your confidence, he gives me a lot of confidence. He makes you know that he’s a little be better. You know today even when we were wide in the first turn, but because I know the type of horse he is I’m able to relax on him. I know when when it’s time to go and I ask him, he’ll kick on.”
The win also hit home with trainer Doug O’Neill, who for a moment, was wondering if Nyquist would even fire.
“The horse is just amazing,” O’Neill said. “We love this horse so much, he’s so talented. Watching him mid race I thought he was done, I thought well maybe it’s just not his day, but when he came back on.”
Is Nyquist as good as I’ll Have Another, the horse that took these same connections to Kentucky Derby glory? It is hard to say, seeing as the only thing the two have in common is their connections.
Owner Paul Reddam certainly thinks this colt could have a shot to duplicate the feat of I’ll Have Another.
“Well I think some people doubted that this horse would really stretch out, and I think that he proved today, beyond a doubt, that he will,” Reddam stated. “We thought all along that he’d be better going longer, so…We’ll see.”
Nyquist photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography