Nyquist Back on Track at Keeneland
By Dick Downey
Photo by Dick Downey
Updated 4:20 p.m. ET
Nyquist made his first appearance of 2016 on the track at Keeneland, the venue of his Breeders' Cup win last October.
Donning his Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile blanket, Nyquist was brought out of his stall at 7:15 a.m., walked around the shedrow three times and led to the track under exercise rider Jonny Garcia.
Before they exited the barn, assistant trainer Jack Sisterson looked at Garcia and said, "You're going to have your hands full today."
Nyquist walked around the track twice the wrong way with a lead pony on the outside rail, neck arched. He appeared to want to do more. Trainer Doug O'Neill, interviewed in California, termed the exercise a jog, but it was a very slow job.
His appearance in public was delayed by two days. On Thursday, the Doug O'Neill website said the 2-year-old Champion and Florida Derby winner would not come out of his barn as planned; that he had a slightly elevated white blood cell count; that his temperature was normal; that he was eating well; and that the stress of shipping from Florida might have caused the abnormal reading.
On Friday Nyquist was declared to have a normal white blood cell count and was scheduled to be on the track this morning. All went as planned today.
"He was very well, taking it all in," Sisterson said after Nyquist returned to his barn.
Sisterson said the colt would go out again at 7:30 Sunday morning.
He said he didn't know whether Nyquist would walk, jog or gallop on Sunday but that O'Neill would tell him the next step when they confer today. He also deferred to O'Neill, who is in California, when asked when Nyquist would put in his next workout.