Trainer Doug O’Neill was at Barn 41, at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, shortly after 5 a.m. on Sunday to give a check on his Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and the readout was a good one.
“He’s doing great,” O’Neill said. “He had his head out over the webbing, looking bright eyed. He ate it all up last night. Couldn’t be doing better. He’s just such a special horse.”
O’Neill had the horse jogged down the shedrow for a just-in-case look, but that turned out fine, too. By 6 o’clock the Uncle Mo colt had been walked, bathed, and put back into his stall.
The trainer was joined his brother Dennis and Tom Knust, the jockey agent for winning rider Mario Gutierrez.
O’Neill said Nyquist would head to Maryland today (May 9) for the next stop on the Triple Crown trail, the Preakness Stakes on May 21.
“He’ll be part of six horses we send up there, including the filly,” he said. The filly would be Land Over Sea, the 3-year-old who was a bang-up second in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. Both she and Nyquist are owned by Paul Reddam.
O’Neill added that several of his Derby “crew,” among them chief assistant trainer Leandro Mora and exercise rider Jonny Garcia, were heading back Sunday to his main stable at Santa Anita. He was off to the airport, too, to grab a California flight. He indicated he’d rejoin Nyquist in Maryland Wednesday or Thursday of the coming week.
The Derby runner-up and third place finisher also came out of the race in good order, their connections said.
Exaggerator, the Kentucky De