Pedigree notebook: Randomized expands Nyquist's portfolio

August 22nd, 2023

As one of only two horses ever to turn the elusive Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1)/Kentucky Derby (G1) double, champion Nyquist already occupied a niche of racing history. But the Darley stallion keeps putting himself back in the headlines through his progeny. The leading North American freshman sire of 2020 is enjoying a particularly purple patch this summer.

After Crimson Advocate captured the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot, and unbeaten New York Thunder rumbled in the Amsterdam (G2) on the Saratoga dirt, Nyquist was in the spotlight as the sire of dazzling sprinters. Now that Randomized carried her speed over 1 1/4 miles in last Saturday’s Alabama (G1), she’s expanded the horizons.

Nyquist had proven his ability to sire top-class performers on all surfaces straightaway, like his own outstanding sire, Uncle Mo. Nyquist’s first crop featured two champion juveniles who earned their trophies on dirt and turf, respectively. Eclipse Award winner Vequist clinched her divisional title in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), and Sovereign Award winner Gretzky the Great scored in the Summer (G1) over Woodbine’s turf.

Nyquist’s second crop continued the pattern, featuring pretty versatile graded winners. Slow Down Andy, initially on the Derby trail with wins in the 2021 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) and 2022 Sunland Park Derby (G3), switched to turf and added the Del Mar Derby (G2). He’s continued to place in such major events as the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Turnerloose has spent the bulk of her time on turf, notably romping in a Kentucky Downs stakes at two, but she upset the 2022 Rachel Alexandra (G2) in her first dirt foray. Awake at Midnyte has collected a variety of graded placings, from dirt sprints like the La Brea (G1) to routes on both the main track and turf.

Until Randomized came along, New York Thunder appeared to be the star of Nyquist’s third crop. Not that he didn’t have a few other useful three-year-olds. Johannes showed the gears of a very smart turf prospect when taking the Baffle S. and Pasadena S. at Santa Anita earlier in the year. The Tim Yakteen pupil is on holiday, but hopefully we’ll see him back to fulfill his promise. Xigera, promoted to third in last year’s Alcibiades (G1), has stayed on turf so far this campaign and landed the July 1 Tepin S. at Ellis Park. Flying Connection dominated the fillies’ division on the New Mexico circuit, booking her Kentucky Oaks (G1) ticket in the Sunland Park Oaks. Although her stamina ran out at Churchill Downs, the daughter of pure speedster Free Flying Soul hung tough for a long way in a creditable sixth.

Barely a week later, Crimson Advocate put Nyquist’s fourth crop on the map with a brilliant display of speed in the May 13 Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies S. on the Gulfstream Park turf. The George Weaver trainee was faster at every call than stablemate No Nay Mets, who won the open company version of the same stakes. Crimson Advocate secured a spot at Royal Ascot, and made the trip worthwhile by upstaging the British fancies in the Queen Mary. Although she just lasted by a nose, Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez blamed himself for kicking too soon down the long straightaway.

New York Thunder reiterated Nyquist’s capacity to get a high-powered sprinter, and a triple-surface threat at that for AMO Racing USA. Successful on Tapeta and turf at Gulfstream Park last term, the Jorge Delgado runner returned triumphant in the April 23 Woodstock S. on Woodbine’s Tapeta, drawing off by 7 1/2 lengths. The 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam established his dirt aptitude in no uncertain terms. New York Thunder burned off the rest through a half-mile in :43.56, and his six-furlong split in 1:07.77 shaded the Spa’s track record. If the unbeaten colt can go a perfect 5-for-5 on Travers Day in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1), he would make quite a bookend with Randomized.

Going into the Alabama, the only question about Randomized was her stamina for the American classic distance. Her trademark was speed around a mile, as evidenced in her Aqueduct maiden conquest and the July 14 Wilton S. at Saratoga. Yet the sample size (four starts) was quite limited, and her sixth in the Acorn (G1) didn’t appear determinative. Randomized had the tactical advantage of controlling speed in the Alabama, but the Chad Brown filly still needed to stay the trip after solid enough fractions of :23.45 and :47.86. While her final quarter slowed to :25.90, no one else could make a dent as she widened her margin to four lengths in 2:03.07.

Nyquist might have had a marquee winner going 1 1/4 miles by now, if his son Scalding hadn’t had his career curtailed by injury. From his sire’s first crop, Scalding was a late bloomer just starting his ascent as a four-year-old in 2022. He progressed rapidly in the course of a four-race winning streak, from breaking his maiden to edging Cody’s Wish in the Challenger (G3) and driving home decisively in the 1 1/8-mile Ben Ali (G3). Scalding was pointing for last summer’s Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) when he was retired.

Although Scalding’s dam, Hot Water, is by Medaglia d’Oro, Scalding appeared to have more stamina than the mare’s other stakes winners, Tracksmith (by Street Sense) and Hot and Sultry (by Speightster). It’s too soon to assess Hot Water’s newest stakes winner, juvenile filly Hot Beach. But as a descendant of Hall of Fame sprinter Xtra Heat, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Hot Water were transmitting more of the speed of her maternal line. If so, Scalding may have been getting some help from Nyquist. A similar dynamic is possible, if not as clear, in Randomized.

Randomized is out of the unraced Elusive Quality mare French Passport, who is a half-sister to Grade 2 winners Smooth Air and Overdriven. Also in this immediate family is multiple Grade 1 vixen Got Stormy, a turf miler who was effective in sprints as well.

Interestingly, Crimson Advocate is bred on a similar cross of Nyquist over a Gone West-line mare. Her dam, the multiple stakes-winning sprinter Citizen Advocate, is by Proud Citizen, from the family of champion Caledonia Road, multiple Grade 3 scorer Officiating, and current Wood Memorial (G2) victor Lord Miles.  

New York Thunder’s pedigree echoes that of the superb turf sprinter Golden Pal. Both are out of mares by Midshipman, and Golden Pal is by champion Uncle Mo, Nyquist’s own sire.

It makes sense for Nyquist to express brilliance, given his own profile on the racetrack, and because he inherits additional speed from his dam, Seeking Gabrielle. By Forestry and out of 1994 Adirondack (G2) victress Seeking Regina, Seeking Gabrielle is a half-sister to Grade 3-winning sprinter Seeking the Sky, dam of millionaire Sahara Sky. Although Sahara Sky won a photo in the 2013 Metropolitan H. (G1) around a one-turn mile, his other wins all came in sprints.

Still, as Randomized illustrates, Nyquist can also convey more. Uncle Mo himself has sired all types, from speed merchants like Golden Pal and Yaupon to Triple Crown performers in Nyquist and last year’s Belmont (G1) hero, Mo Donegal. Now Nyquist is following his sire’s wide-ranging trajectory.