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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.

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming to skip Belmont Stakes

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NEW YORK — Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will skip the Belmont Stakes next month after finishing eighth in the Preakness.

Trainer Todd Pletcher says the 3-year-old colt will be pointed toward either the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 29 or the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 30, according to the Daily Racing Form.

Trainer Chad Brown says he will wait until after the Memorial Day weekend to announce where Preakness winner Cloud Computing will run next. However, it appears unlikely he will run in the Belmont.

The Belmont field is limited to 16 starters. Besides Classic Empire, who came in second at the Preakness Stakes, other horses expected to run are Conquest Mo Money, Japan-based Epicharis, Gormley, Irap, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Meantime, Multiple, Patch, Senior Investment, Tapwrit, True Timber and Twisted Tom. Other possibilities are Irish War Cry and Hollywood Handsome.

With no Triple Crown in play, Belmont lacks a singular buzz

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BALTIMORE — Cloud Computing stole the Preakness, and any hope of a Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes.

The 13-1 shot did it on six weeks’ rest, having skipped the 20-horse roughhouse that is the Kentucky Derby even though he had enough points to get in that race. With another three weeks until the Belmont in New York, Cloud Computing could return to run on his home track.

“We haven’t ruled it out,” trainer Chad Brown said Sunday. “We’re just going to evaluate the horse this week and probably by next weekend we may have a decision.”

Cloud Computing didn’t race as a 2-year-old because of injury, so he is among the freshest horses out there.

Brown prefers to give his horses a month or more between starts. Trainer Todd Pletcher also favors long layoffs, although he made an exception to run Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming back in two weeks. The colt responded with an eighth-place finish – the worst of his career – on Saturday.

“He looks good, bright, alert, sound, healthy, happy,” Pletcher said. “We’ll head to Belmont and regroup.”

If the Derby and Preakness winners skip the Belmont on June 10, the likely favorite would be Classic Empire, who was runner-up Saturday after finishing fourth in the Derby.

It would be the first time since 2010 that neither the Derby nor Preakness winner run in the Belmont. That year, Derby winner Super Saver, trained by Pletcher, and Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky sat out the third leg.

Trainer Mark Casse said Classic Empire is being pointed toward the Belmont, barring any unforeseen developments.

“He was a better horse yesterday than he was two weeks ago for the Kentucky Derby,” he said.

Among other horses likely for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont – the longest of the Triple Crown races – are: Senior Investment (third in Preakness), Lookin At Lee (fourth in Preakness) and Japanese invader Epicharis.

Lookin At Lee finished second in the Derby, when Classic Empire was fourth.

Classic Empire and Lookin At Lee would face off for the sixth time in the Belmont, and they could be the only horses to run in all three Triple Crown races. Classic Empire has three victories against Lookin At Lee, including this year’s Arkansas Derby.

“You’re looking at horses that traveled at 2, ran at as high a level as we have, so you’re not surprised,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Lookin At Lee and won last year’s Belmont with Creator.

“They’ve been able to maintain themselves physically. That puts them in a different position than horses who have not consistently run on that stage.”

Possible Belmont starters are Multiplier (sixth in Preakness) and Conquest Mo Money (seventh in Preakness). Gunnevera (fifth in Preakness) and Hence (ninth in Preakness) won’t run in the Belmont.

Epicharis, one of the top 3-year-olds in Japan, will make his North American debut in the $1.5 million Belmont. That would make him eligible for a new $1 million bonus offered by the New York Racing Association to any Japan-based winner of the race. The winner’s share of the purse is $800,000.

Epicharis would be the second Japanese horse to run in the Belmont. Last year, Lani finished third after running in all three legs of the Triple Crown.