Unbeaten racehorse Nyquist has won the Kentucky Derby to improve his career to 8-0. The 3-year-old colt ran a nearly perfect race in front of more than 167,000 spectators at Churchill Downs.
Race jockey Mario Gutierrez guided Nyquist - named for the professional hockey player Gustav Nyquist - around the 1.25-mile (2-kilometer) track in 2:01.31. The colt became the eighth unbeaten winner in the race's 142-year history and paid $6.60 (5.80 euros), $4.80 and $3.60 as the 2-1 favorite in the full field of 20 horses.
"He's amazing," Gutierrez who also rode the winning horse in 2012. "You get this 2-year-old baby with thoughts of getting into the Kentucky Derby. Everything has translated into reality. There are no words for it."
Nyquist broke out of the 13th gate cleanly and Gutierrez eased him back to allow speed runner Danzing Candy, starting out of the 20th gate, to clear him from the outside.
As Danzing Candy dropped back, Gun Runner took over the lead but at the top of the stretch, Nyquist blew past the colt and opened up a wide lead heading for the finish line.
Exaggerator, who ran along the rail in the middle of the pack through the first half of race, made a gallant charge down the stretch and closed within a length of winning runner.
"He's such a special horse, you can see it in his eye on a daily basis," said winning trainer Doug O'Neill. "He's such a professional. At any human sport he'd be the top notch athlete. He's just first class. Just the way he carries himself, he's the type of horse would be in the gym all day, go to bed early, he knows when to rest, he knows when to bring his A game."
The next leg of the Triple Crown - a string of US horse races -swept for the first time in 37 years last season by American Pharoah,
is the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore on May 21.
jar/bw (AP, Reuters)