Reddam Racing’s Nyquist took the lead from Gun Runner in the upper stretch, opened a daylight margin, and had more than enough to hold off Exaggerator by 1 ¼ lengths to win the 142nd running of the $2,391,600 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands before a crowd of 167,227, the second-largest in Derby history.
It was the second victory in the Derby for owner Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill, and jockey Mario Gutierrez; the trio that got the roses in 2012 with I’ll Have Another.
“It’s unreal,” Gutierrez said. “No words can describe it.”
Added O’Neill, “He’s a special, special horse. You can see it in his eye on a daily basis. He knows how to bring his ‘A’ game. If he was a human athlete, we’d celebrate him as a super star.”
At the post-race press conference, O’Neill took the opportunity to thank the Reddams for the opportunity to train Nyquist, along with his barn crew for keeping things rolling smoothly. “It’s unbelievable. … Those guys (Nyquist’s groom Elias Anaya and exercise rider Johnny Garcia), they are the unsung heroes. Because they do all the work, and they are there long hours. And I could tell in the last week or so, Elias he is very serious about his trade and loves his horses so much. He has been smiling more than I have ever seen him smile. I didn’t know what was going on. Now I think we all know.
“When you take those bandages off in the morning, his legs were ice cold and his feet were ice cold and you look in the feed tub and there is no more feed in there, he was really respon