LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — It’s Nyquist!
Nyquist stormed into the lead on the turn for home and won the Kentucky Derby to become just the eighth undefeated horse to win the Run for the Roses.
The Derby favorite went into Saturday with the unenviable task of following in the hoof prints of Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, and so far isn’t getting the respect expected for the only undefeated horse in the race.
With his 1 ¼-length win over Exaggerator on Saturday, Nyquist ran his unbeaten record to 8 for 8 heading into the Preakness in two weeks. The last Derby winner to go into the second leg of the Triple Crown undefeated was Big Brown 2008.
A year after American Pharoah won the Derby on the way to becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, Nyquist just may be on a similar path. The son of Uncle Mo was the 2-1 favorite in the full field of 20 3-year-olds,
The winning time for 1 ¼ miles was 2:01.31.
Nyquist, named for NHL player Gustav Nyquist, gives owner J. Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez their second Derby winner. I’ll Have Another won the Derby and Preakness in 2012, but was retired the day before the race with a leg injury.
A crowd of 167,227 saw the race under sunny skies. It’s the second largest crowd in Derby history, behind the 170,513 last year that saw American Pharoah win.