Unbeaten Nyquist was rated the 3-1 early favorite for Saturday’s 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky after drawing the 13th gate on for the Run for the Roses.
Nyquist, whose hockey-mad owner J. Paul Reddam named him after the gifted Swedish forward Gustav Nyquist, who plays for the Detroit Red Wings, is the 3-1 early choice in the 1-1/4 mile test among the field of 3-year-old thoroughbreds after winning his first seven races.
Gustav Nyquist will not attend the race as he is playing for Sweden in the World Hockey Championships taking place in Russia.
Nyquist won his seven races at four different tracks and has some positive vibes on his side with trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez having teamed up for a Kentucky Derby win in 2012 with I’ll Have Another.
Second choice in the first leg of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown is Exaggerator, an 8-1 choice starting from the 11th post position, with Creator, Gun Runner and Mohaymen joint third picks at 10-1 in the 20-horse field.
Exaggerator, coming off an impressive win over a sloppy track in last month’s Santa Anita Derby, is handled by a brotherly connection with Kent Desormeaux in the saddle for trainer J. Keith Desormeaux.