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Apr 3, 2016
Trainer Doug O’Neill (Nyquist): “I just thought Mario (Gutierrez) rode a brilliant race. He showed the way out of there and just kept on going, improved his position. It was all Mario—Mario won the first turn, and the first turn won the race.

“It’s such a team effort. Like Paul (Reddam) said, I had reservations a month or so ago—Mohaymen in his own backyard, do we really want to do something like that? But we all very quickly got on the same page and, you know, I think we just had a very lucky trip. Mario broke great and did a great job riding and everything just went right. This whole trip other than being delayed one day, everything else went right. So many things can go wrong in this business. Nyquist traveled well, looked well. Leandro Mora, my main guy here, who’s at the barn 24 hours a day, seven days a week—don’t tell the labor law that—but Leandro basically sleeps with the horse. It’s a credit to the whole team how he came over, how he looked and how he ran.

“Obviously we’re high as a kite right now. But he seems like you could run him on just about anything. He’s trained on synthetic. It doesn’t seem like footing really bothers him. Johnny Garcia, his daily exercise rider, commented that the one day that he galloped here, that the track was just much more tight than Santa Anita. So he felt like (Nyquist) was really ready to run on a tight track after training at Santa Anita, which has a little more cushion. Maybe he was just really legged up, but you know, going a mile and an eighth in only his second time out as a 3-year-old—we’d be lying if we didn’t say we were optimistic, but you never know, and he exceeded our expectations for sure.

“I feel really good (about Kentucky). We drew up thinking two preps before the Derby would leave him with fresh legs. He’s got a lot of miles underneath him in the morning and we have a fresh horse for the afternoon.”

Owner Paul Reddam (Nyquist): “When it rained we were happy. Before the races got going, we thought, ‘Uh oh, maybe the track will dry out,’ so I had Doug’s son Daniel do a rain dance, and then it started pouring. Absolutely, we were happy with a wet track.”

Jockey Mario Gutierrez (Nyquist): “It was always part of the plan (to go to front). It just depends on the break; how the other horses were going to be acting, so coming out of the gate, I broke so clean and so fast so I just had to take the lead.”

(going wide second turn) “I saw the gray horse (Mohaymen) coming to my side. I’m riding the race and I didn’t want to be so confident, so if he was going to pass me, he was going to have to pass me running and wide.”

Jockey Jose Lezcano (Fellowship): “I had a good trip. We broke and I got the position I wanted. When I asked him, he gave me a kick, but the other two kept running.”
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin (Mohaymen): “He was pretty wide throughout, but the track is wet and we wanted to stay out in the clear. Congratulations to the winner. He ran big. We were awfully wide throughout and with the track you never know. We’ll regroup.”
Jockey Junior Alvarado (Mohaymen): “I didn’t really have much excuse. I was where I wanted to be the whole race and he didn’t fire this time. That’s all I really can tell you. There’s nothing wrong with him. Something was probably going on with him today, he just didn’t run the race that we were expecting.

“I’m a person that doesn’t like to blame the track all the time. I would say the only difference is that he never took me. He’s a horse that all the time drags me and jump in the bridle right away so when we turn to the backside he’s pulling me. This time he wasn’t pulling me. It got me a little worried. I tried to stay with im and give him a chance to get it all together. By the three-eighths pole I saw Nyquist getting along in front by himself and I had to move my horse. By tthat point he always drags me there and this time I’m the one asking him. The track could be one little reason but there’s nothing else I really can say. Other than that we were clear on the outside.”

Jockey Javier Castellano (Majesto): “It was a beautiful trip. He really gave a big effort. Not too many horses step up like that and gallop out like he did. It was amazing because he hooked up with the best horses in the country. The good thing about him is I was saving ground and when a hole opened, he went through and finished really well. I think he’s going to be good going to the Derby. He has the points and he’s late-developing.  He’s going to start getting really good. I am looking forward to him as he gets older. 

Assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr., (Majesto): “Javier had to check a little in the corner. It was a tough day because Grand Tito also had problems (in the Pan American), but we really like this horse and now we can go to the Kentucky Derby.”

Trainer Dale Romans (Takeittotheedge): “He didn’t run very well, but he either runs really big or runs poorly when it’s a horse who had only run once. We’ll take him to Kentucky and then I’ll figure it out.”

Trainer Nick Zito (Fashionable Freddy): “It was unusual because it looked like he was bred for the mud. A couple of factors: I guess he’s not ready for these yet, but more importantly he didn’t handle the kickback. It’s tough today because I thought he was really well-prepared to do something. It’s reality.”

Jockey Miguel Vasquez (Copingaway): "Good trip.”

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