Nyquist Steady Atop Latest Odds to Win 2016 Kentucky Derby

Getty Images
1 Comment

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.

Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security, pleads guilty to drugging his horses

1 Comment

NEW YORK – Trainer Jason Servis, whose horse Maximum Security was the 3-year-old champion in 2019, pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges involving a widespread scheme to drug horses.

The 65-year-old New Jersey-based trainer faces four years in prison when he is sentenced next May in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. He was the last defendant facing charges in the scheme, and now 23 of the 31 individuals charged have pleaded guilty.

Servis pleaded guilty in connection with his role in the distribution of adulterated and misbranded drugs intended for use on horses in his stable.

“Servis’ conduct represents corruption at the highest levels of the racehorse industry,” Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “As a licensed racehorse trainer, Servis was bound to protect the horses under his care and to comply with racing rules designed to ensure the safety and well-being of horses and protect the integrity of the sport.”

Servis’ attorney, Rita Glavin, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Servis was charged in 2020 after a wide-ranging investigation into doping in the horse racing industry. Racing authorities suspended his trainer’s license.

Maximum Security finished first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby but was disqualified for interference during the running of the race. The colt finished first in the $10 million Saudi Cup shortly before Servis’ arrest in March 2020. Saudi officials later withheld the winner’s share of the purse, citing Servis’ arrest and indictment.

“I don’t take any solace in other peoples misery, actually quite the opposite I feel some empathy for them,” Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion tweeted, “but the reality is that those of us who were beaten by Jason Service’s (sic) horses have little to show for it other than losing money, owners and horses due to his success.”

Another New Jersey-based trainer, Jorge Navarro, is serving a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty a year ago. Eleven of the defendants were trainers and seven were veterinarians.

Servis is the brother of trainer John Servis, who trained Smarty Jones to victories in the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before the colt lost his Triple Crown bid in the Belmont.

Irad Ortiz sets single-season record with 77th stakes win

Getty Images
0 Comments

NEW YORK – Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned his record 77th single-season North American stakes victory when he guided Dr B to victory in the $200,000 Go for Wand at Aqueduct.

The 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico broke the old mark of 76 set by the late Hall of Fame rider Garrett Gomez in 2007.

“This is great. Amazing feeling,” said Ortiz, Jr., who won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey from 2018-20. “Gomez did it in 2007 and he was a great rider, one of the best in the game. I’m so happy just to be a part of this. I love this sport.”

Ortiz Jr. won the Belmont Stakes with Mo Donegal in June to go with Breeders’ Cup victories in the Juvenile, Filly & Mare Sprint and Sprint. He also earned nine other Grade 1 wins in New York, including Life Is Good in the Woodward and Whitney and Nest in the Alabama and Coaching Club Oaks. He won riding titles at Belmont’s spring-summer meet and Saratoga’s summer meet.

Ortiz Jr. leads North American riders with 304 overall victories this year. His purse earnings totaled over $35.8 million going into Saturday’s races, which already surpassed his single-season record of $34.1 million in 2019.