Unbeaten Nyquist wins Kentucky Derby

Sat May 7, 2016 7:42pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Favorite Nyquist ran a perfect race to extend his unbeaten record winning the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday, sparking talk of a second consecutive Triple Crown champion.

Nyquist, who had won a record $3.3 million heading into the Derby, extended his unbeaten record to 8-0 with a smooth trip under jockey Mario Gutierrez.

Nyquist pulled away from Gun Runner down the stretch and then held off a closing charge by Exaggerator to win the first leg of U.S. thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown series for 3-year-olds.

Exaggerator, the second choice, finished second by 1-1/4 lengths followed by Gun Runner, who was 4-1/2 lengths off the pace. Mohaymen took fourth.

"He's amazing," said Gutierrez. "You get this 2-year-old baby with thoughts of getting into the Kentucky Derby," he said. "Everything has translated into reality. There are no words for it."

Nyquist paid $6.60, $4.80, $3.60 for a $2 bet in becoming the eighth unbeaten horse ever to triumph in the Run for the Roses.

Nyquist broke out of the 13th gate cleanly and Gutierrez eased him back to allow speed runner Danzing Candy, starting out of the 20th gate in the 20-horse field, to clear him from the outside.

After Danzing Candy dropped back in the later stages, Gun Runner took over the lead but at the top of the stretch, Nyquist blew past the colt and opened up a wide lead heading for the finish.

Exaggerator, who ran along the rail in the middle of the pack through the first half of the 1-1/4 mile race, made a gallant charge down the stretch and closed within a length but could not overhaul the favorite.   Continued...

 
May 7, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Mario Gutierrez aboard Nyquist (13) reacts after winning the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports