Last year’s Eclipse Award winning Champion 2YO Nyquist (3c Uncle Mo x Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry) made a successful return to racing on Monday when capturing the Grade II San Vincente Stakes at Santa Anita.
Off the scene since closing out his unbeaten juvenile season with a memorable victory in the Grade I Breeders Cup Juvenile, the Doug O’Neil trained son of Uncle Mo was ready to pick up where he left off.
He jumped well and always looked the horse to beat, racing through fractions of :22.50 and :44.49 before taking control on turning for home.
He forged clear to win by a length and a half over Exaggerator in in a sparkling 1:20.71—the third fastest recorded in the seven-furlong race’s history.
“Exaggerator is a nice horse, and for him to hold him off the way he did showed you how talented he is,” said winning trainer Doug O’Neill.
“There were some anxious moments when I saw the fractions, and you’re better off on the outside tracking than on the inside being tracked. The post [one] wasn’t an advantage at all and I think we got pushed by the bottom horse [Sheikh of Sheikhs] a little bit early. But Mario [Gutierrez] is smart. He knew what he had. I really was impressed with the gallop out. He galloped out great.”
Raced by Reddam Racing, Nyquist has won six from six earning over $1.7 million in prizemoney and the big question for the star colt is where to next.
“I haven’t talked to Paul [Reddam]. The original plan was the [Apr. 2 GI] Florida Derby and there’s a bonus involved, of course, so we’ll huddle up and play it by ear and do whatever is in the best interest of Nyquist for sure,” said O’Neill.
As a graduate of Fasig-Tipton’s Florida Sale in March last year at which he made $400,000, Nyquist is in line for a $1-million bonus should he win the Florida Derby.
Nyquist was previously a $180,000 weanling and then a $230,000 yearling, so he has impressed at every turn in his life.
Nyquist is the first winner for well-bred Seeking Gabrielle, a half-sister by Forestry to Grade III winner Seeking the Sky, the dam of Grade I winner Sahara Sky.
Uncle Mo has already opened up an early lead on the US Second Crop Sires List posting 13 winners since the start of the year.