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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.

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.