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Nyquist Sizzles In Winning The Florida Derby

Nyquist Sizzles In Winning The Florida Derby

02.04.2016, by Jim
Nyquist Sizzles In Winning The Florida Derby&h=223&w=348&zc=1

Doug O’Neill’s Nyquist has won Saturday’s Florida Derby in sizzling fashion, beating second place Majesto by 3 3/4 lengths to win the most highly anticipated prep race of the Derby prep season. Nyquist went off as an even money second choice and left race favorite Mohaymen–a 4-5 post time chalk–to finish a disappointing fourth.

I’m not one to say ‘I told you so’ but ‘I told you so’. While the ‘serious racing press’ spent the first months of 2016 adopting Kiaran McLaughlin’s Mohaymen as their ‘Derby contender darling’ and hyping up his ability while dismissing other top contenders I told you to not believe the hype. No disrespect to Mohaymen who is an excellent horse but to paraphrase noted racing authority Ice Cube “I know the game so I watch it unfold”. The racing media does this every year. They anoint a horse as the ‘serious’ Derby contender. They’ve got every right to do this, of course, but the problem is that it distorts their coverage. Every other contender is critiqued for often nitpicking liabilities while the coverage of the ‘darling’ takes a ‘glass half full’ approach.

As a corollary to this–they often judge any other ‘top contenders’ with undue harshness. They did this with California Chrome in 2014, lambasting his pedigree though they didn’t really have a ‘darling’ this year. In 2015, the racing press loved Dortmund and hated American Pharoah whom they labeled ‘underacheiving’ and said ‘had never been tested’ or ‘never faced adversity’. A Triple Crown win later their view has changed though you can probably still find a bitter, ink stained wretch willing to make a case that American Pharoah didn’t live up to potential.

It’ll be interesting to see how the racing media responds in the immediate aftermath of this race. In most years they’d likely minimize the poor performance of their ‘darling’ and downplay the win of his rival. That’s not as easy to do when both horses were in the same race. To give credit where it is due, Mohaymen’s trainer McLaughlin was very classy in his post race comments–although clearly disappointed he kept his griping to a minimum and shifted the focus to Nyquist who came up big in this high stakes race.

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