As Kentucky Derby Nears, Confidence Soars

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The 2016 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will be here before you know it (May 7), and trainers of prominent contenders such as Nyquist and Mohaymen are confident in their respective trainees’ chances at victory.

When it comes to Nyquist, the three-year-old colt of Uncle Mo, trainer Doug O’Neill has seen what he wanted to during workouts. There is one more training session left on April 29 before the Derby that will take place at Keeneland.

“We’ve just been keeping him on track,” said O’Neill. “We get a really good vibe from him. I’ve been in this long enough where you don’t want to get too high or too low. kentucky-derby-10

“The key has been keeping him happy and letting him put his feet where he wants to put them. We’ve been doing one thing with him (in his works), but we could probably do 10 other things with him and still have an amazing horse.”

O’Neill highlighted Nyquist’s versatility in terms of having won from the post 12 and the rail, how he has gone from gate to wire, and his experience coming off the pace. That myriad of experience will come in handy in a 20-horse Derby field.

As for Mohaymen and his trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, the Tapit colt is on the rebound from a fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby (gr. I – won by Nyquist). He had won his first five starts prior to that.

“We’re going to draw a line through that effort even though he didn’t run terribly,” said McLaughlin. “We’re better off now than we were then. And he has only had two bad minutes in his whole life.”

Mohaymen has camped out at Churchill the last few weeks, and McLaughlin has been content with how he’s trained on their surface. We’ll see if that will have a positive impact in just a couple of weeks.

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