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Nyquist Steady Atop Latest Odds to Win 2016 Kentucky Derby

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Nyquist sits as the +300 betting favorite on the odds to win the Kentucky Derby at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, but he faces growing competition from the field.

Nyquist, a three-year-old colt that remains undefeated through seven races, is scheduled to run his final breeze at Keeneland on Friday before moving to Louisville ahead of next Saturday’s running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The Doug O’Neill trainee last raced in the Florida Derby four weeks ago, dominating from gate to wire in an impressive win to move to the top of the odds and surpass early favorite Mohaymen, who finished fourth at Gulfstream and now sits third on the betting lines for the 2016 Kentucky Derby at +1000.

Nyquist’s perfect record includes a victory at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and he is looking to become the first to follow up that accomplishment with a Kentucky Derby win since 2007.

The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Mohaymen had sported odds as short as +225 prior to his disappointing finish in the Florida Derby, and now also trails Exaggerator, who has rocketed to +800 since his spectacular run three weeks ago at the Santa Anita Derby.

RELATED: How to watch the Kentucky Derby

Undeterred by a sloppy track, Exaggerator powered to his fourth career win, crushing the race favorite Mor Spirit by 6.25 lengths, and sending his Kentucky Derby odds soaring from a previously distant +3500.

Mohaymen, meanwhile, is joined at +1000 by Gun Runner, who won going away at last month’s Louisiana Derby to claim his second straight victory. Gun Runner had previously been pegged at +2000, improved to +1400 following his most recent win, and has continued his steady climb up the odds throughout the month of April.

Brody’s Cause finally returned to form following a seventh-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby, grinding out an important win in the Blue Grass Stakes to lift his odds to +950, but has since fallen back to +1200 at Kentucky Derby betting sites.

Destin, a Todd Pletcher-trained colt, took the win at Tampa Bay for his third career victory, and has been a steady presence on the Kentucky Derby odds at a respectable +1400.

Following a pair of wins, including a close victory at the Rebel Stakes, Cupid was pegged as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby, but finished a distant 10th. Cupid has since been scratched from the Kentucky Derby following throat surgery, opening the door for Mo Tom, who has held steady at +1600.

Mor Spirit sits next at +1800, followed by Suddenbreakingnews, Outwork, and Creator, who round out the odds leaders, each at +2000.

Tiger Roll wins Grand National in photo finish

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AINTREE, England — Tiger Roll won the Grand National Steeplechase in a photo finish over Pleasant Company as Irish horses dominated the world’s most famous steeplechase at Aintree on Saturday.

A 4 1/2-mile (6,400-meter) race was won by a matter of inches in the closest finish to the Grand National since 2012, when Neptune Collonges won by a nose.

Tiger Roll, a 10-1 shot, was leading by as much as 10 lengths in the long run to the line, but only just held off the fast-finishing Pleasant Company (25-1) to win a first prize of 500,000 pounds ($710,000).

“I did have a big fear,” said jockey Davy Russell, who won the race for the first time at his 14th attempt. “It would have been heartbreaking.”

The first four horses home in the National were from Ireland, including Bless The Wings (40-1) and Anibale Fly (10-1).

It was the second National victory for both trainer Gordon Elliott, who also won with Silver Birch in 2007, and owner Michael O’Leary, who had 2016 winner Rule The World. O’Leary is chief executive of budget airline Ryanair.

“We bought the horse as a pint-sized hurdler,” O’Leary said, “but he’s got a heart of a lion.”

Russell grew up dreaming of winning the National. As a child, he erected Aintree-style fences in his garden and pretended to ride a horse over them.

“I’ve won this race thousands of times (in my head),” Russell said. “But not like this.”

David Mullins, the jockey of Pleasant Company, said he thought he was well-beaten after jumping the next-to-last fence.

“Davy was going so much better than me,” Mullins said.

That seemed to be the case as the horses made it past the elbow in the run to the line, but Pleasant Company closed in as Tiger Roll faded. It was too close to call as they crossed the line and the 171st edition of the race required a photo finish to separate them.

Total Recall went off as the 7-1 favorite but fell.

 

Baffert: McKinzie won’t run in Santa Anita Derby

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) McKinzie will miss the Santa Anita Derby on April 7 because of an unspecified problem.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert confirmed the colt won’t run in the West Coast’s major prep for the Kentucky Derby due to an issue in one of his hind legs. X-rays and scans haven’t confirmed what it is.

Baffert said Saturday in Dubai that McKinzie is “definitely out,” according to multiple media reports. He says he’s being “very cautious.”

The colt edged Bolt d’Oro in the San Felipe Stakes on March 10, but was disqualified and placed second for interference in the stretch.

McKinzie was 10th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 40 points for owners Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman. The colt won the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity on Dec. 9 and the Sham Stakes on Jan. 6.

Baffert was in the Middle East to saddle West Coast and Mubtaahij to second- and third-place finishes in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.