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Nyquist Maintains Momentum as Kentucky Derby Betting Favorite

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After claiming the No. 13 post position Nyquist continues to dominate the odds to win the Kentucky Derby, pegged as a +300 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Nyquist takes a perfect record through seven races into Saturday afternoon’s 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and is slated to occupy the same post position he held when he claimed victory at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last October.

The Doug O’Neill-trained three-year-old colt will be looking to duplicate the success of recent betting favorites at the Kentucky Derby.

Favorites have won each of the past three editions of the race, including American Pharoah, who also went on to capture the Triple Crown a year ago after paying out at 5/2 odds in the Kentucky Derby.

Nyquist will be flanked by his two primary competitors on the Kentucky Derby odds, with Exaggerator starting from the No. 11 post and Mohaymen drawing the No. 14 post.

Exaggerator has maintained the momentum he gained on the Kentucky Derby odds following his spectacular victory at last month’s Santa Anita Derby, staying just ahead of Mohaymen at a solid +750.

Mohaymen continues to hang tough at +800 following his first-ever loss, a fourth-place finish five weeks ago in the Florida Derby, won handily by Nyquist. Mohaymen tallied wins in the Fountain of Youth and Holy Bull Stakes while starting from the No. 12 post and the No. 11 post, respectively.

Gun Runner rounds out the front of the Kentucky Derby betting pack with +900 odds, and will start from the No. 5 post.

The Steven Asmussen-trained Colt has won his last two starts, at the Louisiana Derby and the Risen Star Stakes, and will be looking to build on the past success of horses starting from the No. 5 post, which have accounted for 13 Kentucky Derby winners since 1900.

That’s good news for Asmussen, who will send out both Gun Runner and Creator in this year’s race, but has yet to produce a winner in 13 Kentucky Derby appearances.

Creator will start from the No. 3 post after earning a Kentucky Derby berth with a victory at the Arkansas Derby, where he paid out at a healthy 10/1, and has seen his odds rapidly climb from +2000 to +1200.

Destin, saddled by trainer Todd Pletcher, follows at +1400, ahead of Suddenbreakingnews and Mo Tom at +1600, while Mor Spirit sits at +1800, but will start from the No. 17 post, which has not produced a Kentucky Derby winner.

Baffert hoping Arrogate gives him third Dubai World Cup win

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Having taken over the mantle as the world’s best racehorse from California Chrome, Arrogate will attempt on Saturday to wear another crown that last fitted his illustrious American compatriot, the Dubai World Cup.

All eyes are on the 4-year-old Arrogate, who lost on debut 11 months ago but hasn’t lost since.

He’s won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup this year to stretch his unbeaten streak to six. In both races, Arrogate defeated Chrome, who won the Dubai World Cup last year at Meydan Racecourse by five lengths despite jockey Victor Espinoza hanging on to a loose saddle for most of it.

Under jockey Mike Smith, Arrogate has forged a winning combination in his last three Group 1 races: Travers Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup.

In Dubai, they have drawn stall nine among 14 contenders, a position which fails to douse the confidence of his trainer Bob Baffert.

“Nine is fine,” said Baffert, who also trained 2015 U.S. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“He’s settled in pretty well. As long as he shows up, that’s the key. If he runs his race, we know what he can do.”

Smith was all praise for his mount, ranked the No. 1 racehorse in the world.

“I have been blessed with some really, really good horses, but I am not sure I have ever sit on one like this,” Smith said.

“Everything about him, his disposition, his mechanics, the way he gets over the ground … at times you feel as if you are running downhill instead of a level ground. What amazes me most is when the race is over, it looks as if he did not put much effort into it. His recovery time is so quick.”

Arrogate’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup wins came over 2,000 meters on dirt, the same distance and conditions as the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Baffert hopes Arrogate can give him a third Dubai World Cup victory after Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001).

He suffered a heart attack during his last visit to Dubai in 2012, and watched the World Cup five nights later with stents in two of his blocked arteries. He also watched from even farther afield last year as his other horse, Hoppertunity, finished third behind Chrome and Mike de Kock’s Mubtaahij.

He’s giving Hoppertunity another chance.

“Both my horses are happy and healthy,” Baffert said. “He (Hoppertunity) should be collecting a check again. That is what he does, picks up the pieces in these big races. He reminds me of Pac-Man, he just keeps going. A Dubai World Cup 1-2, that would be something.”

Mubtaahij is also back, although he will start under Christophe Soumillon from the widest of stalls.

“Like everyone, we wanted low,” the Belgian jockey said. “I will have to … hope for some luck.”

The Dubai World Cup features a nine-race card offering $30 million across six Group 1 and three Group 2 races on turf and dirt.

Six three-year-olds nominated late to Triple Crown series

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thunder Snow, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas, is among six 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown series during the late nomination period.

The late nominees, which required a payment of $6,000 each, raise the total nominations to 425 for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The late nomination period closed Monday. The early nomination window closed in January and required a payment of $600.

Ireland-bred Thunder Snow, owned by Godolphin Racing, is set to run Saturday in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai. The colt has three wins in seven career starts for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The other late nominees are Hollywood Handsome, trained by Dallas Stewart; More Than Words, trained by Charlie LoPresti; Parlor, trained by Eddie Kenneally; Rapid Dial, trained by Ingrid Mason; and Stretch’s Stone, trained by Bruce Levine.

Thoroughbreds that weren’t nominated to the Triple Crown have one final chance by paying a supplemental fee. The fee for the Derby is $200,000; $150,000 for the Preakness; and $75,000 for the Belmont.