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.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”

Fractional interest in Flightline sells for $4.6 million

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland says a 2.5% fractional interest in Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Flightline has sold for $4.6 million during a special auction before the start of its November Breeding Stock Sale.

Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, the track announced in a release. The sale comes a day after ownership of the 4-year-old son of Tapit retired the unbeaten colt following his record 8\-length victory in Saturday’s $6 million, Grade 1 Classic at Keeneland. Flightline likely locked up Horse of the Year honors with his fourth Grade 1 victory in six starts by a combined victory margin of 71 lengths – dominance that has drawn comparisons to legendary Triple Crown champion Secretariat.

Flightline will begin his breeding career next year at Lane’s End Farms in Versailles, Kentucky, but a stud fee has yet to be determined. West Point Thoroughbreds, part of the bay colt’s ownership, offered the fractional interest. Seitz said the buyer wanted to “make a big splash” and get more involved in the business.

“With a special horse like (Flightline) all you can do is get involved and then just hope for the best,” Seitz said in the release.

“There has never been a horse that has done what he has done for however many years, back to Secretariat. You just have to pay up and get involved, and this is kind of what he’s thinking.”