Nyquist Favored on Kentucky Derby Futures Market
The most important event in thoroughbred racing is on our doorstep. The 2016 Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday, May 7 (6:34 PM ET, NBC) at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. This is the 142nd edition of the Run for the Roses, and now that all the prep races are complete, we’re finally getting a picture of which horses will pose the greatest threats this year.
As we go to press, Nyquist is the heavy favorite at 3/1 on the Kentucky Derby futures market. Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist remains undefeated after seven starts. The Kentucky-bred colt took down last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for 2-year-olds, then won both his prep races on this year’s Triple Crown Trail: the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes, and the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Can anyone stop Nyquist from winning it all?
Wetter is Better
If anyone can do it, it could be Exaggerator (8/1). Sired by Hall of Famer Curlin, the 2007 and 2008 American Horse of the Year, this Kentucky-bred colt is coming off an impressive win at the prestigious Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Curlin has done very well as a sire, and his bloodlines could be even more important this year, as rain is definitely in the forecast for race day. Curlin has raced well in sloppy conditions, and Exaggerator took down the Santa Anita Derby in the rain, winning by 6 3/4 lengths.
However, this expected matchup with Nyquist might be too much of a challenge. Trainer Keith Desormeaux admitted as much after winning at Santa Anita, noting that his horse has failed to beat Nyquist three times – including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the San Vicente Stakes. Still, if the rains do come down as expected on May 7, jockey Kent Desormeaux will have the opportunity to pilot Exaggerator around the track and pay out at nearly three times the amount as Nyquist.
The potential field of Derby horses gets somewhat crowded after that. Mohaymen and Gun Runner are tied as the third-favorites at 10/1. Mohaymen was on a five-race winning streak before coming in fourth behind Nyquist at the Florida Derby, and while Gun Runner won both his races in 2016, this will be his first-ever Grade 1 race.
The Kentucky Derby picture will become clearer on Wednesday, May 4, when up to 20 horses will be officially entered into the race and their post positions drawn. Any of them could end up winning – as O’Neill and Gutierrez can attest. They shocked the world in 2012 when I’ll Have Another took first place at the Derby, beating out pre-race favorite Bodemeister and paying out at $32.60 for a $2 ticket.