No horse entered the 2016 Kentucky Derby with more momentum than Nyquist. Nyquist started his career a perfect 7-0.
There has been an entire team around the horse that has helped him succeed. Mario Gutierrez is the jockey and the veteran Doug O’Neill trains Nyquist. Paul Reddam purchased the horse and has received quite the payoff for his investment.
Nyquist entered the Derby a 3-1 favorite after establishing his legitimacy with a Florida Derby victory. From his ties to hockey to his bargain price, there is a lot to learn about Nyquist.
Here’s what you need to know about the race horse.
1. The Horse Is Named After Gustav Nyquist
Owner Paul Reddam is a big fan of the Detroit Red Wings. According to The Washington Post, he has named a number of horses after Red Wings players but none have had the success that Nyquist has had. The horse was named after Gustav Nyquist. He was unable to attend the Kentucky Derby after being called up to the Swedish national team but tweeted out his support for his namesake.
The Stanley Cup was present in the horse’s barn the morning of the Kentucky Derby. The team thought it could bring good luck to Nyquist in the race later in the day.
2. Nyquist Beat Mohaymen in the 2016 Florida Derby
Nyquist had his coming out party at the 2016 Florida Derby. In a race dubbed as “East vs. West”, an undefeated Nyquist squared off with an undefeated Mohaymen. Mohaymen was running on his home track and was the favorite entering the race. Nyquist traveled all the way from California after a $1 million bonus was added if he was able to win the race.
After securing a comfortable victory in the race, he emerged as the frontrunner heading into the Kentucky Derby. He entered Churchill Downs undefeated after winning his first seven races.
3. Nyquist Had the Most Winnings of Any Horse Entering the Kentucky Derby
According to NBC Sports, Nyquist entered the Derby with the most winnings of any horse in the history of the sport. According to ESPN, the horse entered Churchill Downs with $3,322,600 in winnings prior to the race.
The team received a $1 million bonus for defeating Mohaymen and winning the Florida Derby. In addition to the big Florida Derby victory, he won the San Vicente Stakes and Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
4. Paul Reddam Purchased Nyquist for $400,000
According to Sports Illustrated, Reddam believed he purchased Nyquist for a bargain at $400,000. The team expected the horse to be sold for close to $1 million.
“We got to $400,000 and the bidding just stopped. We were happy with the price, but we thought he would bring more,” trainer Doug O’Neill told Sports Illustrated.
Reddam has had success before as a horse owner. In 2012, his horse, I’ll Have Another, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The horse had an opportunity to win the Triple Crown, but a tendon injury prevented him from running in the Belmont.
5. Mario Gutierrez Is the Jockey for Nyquist
Gutierrez was the rider for I’ll Have Another when he won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. After reaching success in the sport in 2012, Gutierrez’s career hit a slump. According to the Toronto Sun, he began seeing a sports psychologist, changed his diet and began physical training.
Gutierrez has experienced a resurgence in horse racing after his success riding Nyquist. He knew there was something special when he met the horse. “His presence is very, very powerful. With Nyquist, it was like he was born to do this, born to race,” Gutierrez told the Toronto Sun.