April 2nd’s million dollar Florida Derby needs to update my last summary of the standing for the Run for the Roses on May 2. Normally I would wait till my next weekly report; but the Florida Derby was so impressive and since I failed to mention the winner; we must tell you about this race.
Nyquist an unbeaten horse in 7 starts won the Florida Derby in impressive and memorable fashion. His jockey, Mario Gutierriz, gave an incredible ride to demolish a 10 horse field and dash any hopes of a Derby win for second choice Mohaman. The replay shows Gutierriz muzzled the horse for nearly the first half mile of the race and he still had the lead setting a moderate pace which some handicappers will criticize unfairly. Two other horses pressured him down the back stretch, a tactic which will wear down many lesser horses. Mohaman lay just off his two rivals set to pounce on Nyquist as they entered the far turn. But no ! With a single look between his legs, Gutierriz hand rode his horse through the turn and into the stretch as Mohaman seemed incapable of gaining on him. He made his only mistake when he tapped Nyquist twice with his whip which made the horse veer out slightly as he moved to the wire; but soon gathered him and regained his momentum. He finished strong increasing his lead to 4 lengths.
One final point, my sentimental favorite Airoforce put in a dismal performance in the April 2nd Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park and is dropped from my Derby Watch List. April 9th will tell the rest with the Wood Memorial in New York, the Blue Grass Stakes at Keenland and the Santa Anita Derby at LA’s Santa Anita Racetrack.