Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks in Review

Article Provided by:  JK Shaw

Kentucky Oaks

Since 1875 the Kentucky Derby has been entertaining spectators with its pageantry and tradition and this weekend was no different.

On Friday, under sunny skies, Catheryn Sophia, charged down the stretch in the 142 running of the $1 Million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) posting a 2-3/4 length victory over Land Over Sea.  A record crowd of 124,589 cheered the 3-year-old filly to victory, breaking the attendance record set in 2015 of 123,763.

It was Terra Promessa who set the pace of 14 contenders in fractions of :23.32, :47.87 and 1:12.60 taking the lead until the far turn when Lewis Bay went to the inside and Catheryn Sophia made a wide sweeping move.  In the stretch Catheryn Sophia catapulted to the front pulling away from any threats for the win.  The return for the first place finish was $11.40, $5.40 and $3.80 and increased Catheryn Sophia’s total earning to $859,720.

Catherine Sophia is trained by John Servis and was ridden by top jockey Javier Castellano.  It was the first Grade 1 for the Maryland-bred daughter of Street Boss out of the Mineshaft mare Sheave.

Second place finisher Land Over Sea, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, paid $6.60 and $5.20, with Lewis Bay taking third paying $4.60 with jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Go Maggie Go couldn’t close in, taking forth followed by Mo D’Amour, Rachel’s Valentina, Weep No More, Dream Dance, Paola Queen, Terra Promessa, Royal Obsession, Venus Valentine, Mokat and Taxable.

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Kentucky Derby

Saturday’s Kentucky Derby put another one in the books for trainer Doug O’Neill and the Reddam Racing team, giving the pair their second Kentucky Derby victory with Nyquist.

Trainer O’Neill knew there was something special about Nyquist after winning his first race last June.  He then went on to claim the Front Runner in September of 2015 at Santa Anita as well as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last fall.  After that, O’Neill knew he would have to do things differently.  The Road to the Kentucky Derby for Nyquist only included two prep races and was the only undefeated horse to enter the starting gates in the Kentucky Derby, bringing his record to 8-0..

While O’Neill aggressively trained I’ll Have Another in 2012 for the win in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, he decided to try something a little different with Nyquist giving him a lighter schedule, galloping him less in the mornings.  The strategy is to make Nyquist a little more befitting to the challenges that the Triple Crown series dictates to young horses

Nyquist is the son of Uncle Mo out of Seeking Gabrielle.  While some preferred racing analysts discredited Nyquist’s speed and endurance leading into the Kentucky Derby, O’Neill remained confident on Wednesday after the post position draw when announced that his horse would be breaking from mid-pack.

During the race jockey Mario Gutierrez and Nyquist followed the pace setters up to the first turn and tucked in behind the leaders in the back stretch before making his move out of the final turn.  When the race was over he became the fourth consecutive favorite to win the Kentucky Derby with odds of 2-1.  Nyquist returned $6.60, $4.80 and $3.60 across the boards at Churchill.  Exaggerator paid $5.40 (place), $4.20 (show) and Gun Runner $6.00 to show.  The Exacta paid $30.60, Trifecta: $86.70, Superfecta $542.10 based on $1 bets.

Today the O’Neill/Reddam team prepare to go to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes with a colt that has done everything so perfectly since last year, and emerged as the super athlete in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby 142.  Nyquist is now going to take them on the ride of their lives as the talk has already begun……Can this horse win the Triple Crown?

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