Nyquist trainer O'Neill eyes second Derby win
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
(Reuters) - Four years after celebrating his first Kentucky Derby triumph, trainer Doug O'Neill is in prime position to toast another after his bay colt Nyquist was installed as the pre-race favorite for Saturday's 142nd edition.
In 2012, Mario Gutierrez piloted the O'Neill-trained I'll Have Another to Derby glory and the same jockey will be back in the saddle on Saturday when the unbeaten Nyquist breaks from the 13th post in a 20-runner field at Churchill Downs.
"It has allowed me to not be overwhelmed this time," O'Neill said about the benefit of previous success at Churchill Downs in Louisville. "We found out that time that we had success doing what we'd been doing all along. It worked.
"So we're just doing that again - same patterns, same style. We just want to stay on course. That's what's going to work. We know that now."
Nyquist, who has won seven times at four different tracks, was rated the 3-1 early favorite and his connections were delighted with his 13th gate draw after winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in October the last time he carried that number.
"It's good, lucky 13," said Nyquist's owner, Canadian businessman J. Paul Reddam. "It's been our lucky number."
Second choice in the first leg of U.S. thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown is Exaggerator, an 8-1 shot starting from the 11th post position, with Creator, Gun Runner and Mohaymen joint third picks at 10-1.