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Florida Derby winner Nyquist will continue Kentucky Derby preparations at Keeneland


Winner of Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, Reddam Racing’s undefeated champion Nyquist arrived at Keeneland around on Sunday to continue preparations for the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Trained by Doug O’Neill, the champion 2-year-old male of 2015 and winner of the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) here last fall extended his unbeaten streak to seven with Saturday’s victory at Gulfstream Park.

“We were very impressed with the way he did it,” said Jack Sisterson, assistant to O’Neill. “It was very humid and he handled it well. (Jockey) Mario (Gutierrez) gave him a great ride.”

Nyquist, who has earned $2,322,600, would return to the track Wednesday morning to continue his preparations for the $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 7 (Keeneland Photo)

Nyquist, who has earned $2,322,600, would return to the track Wednesday morning to continue his preparations for the $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 7 (Keeneland Photo)

Sisterson said Nyquist, who has earned $2,322,600, would return to the track Wednesday morning to continue his preparations for the $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 7.

“Doug chose to bring him here to enjoy the surroundings and also take advantage of the synthetic training track in case there is bad weather,” Sisterson said.

Also on the flight with Nyquist was stablemate Gomo, who finished fourth Saturday in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) in her first start since winning the Darley Alcibiades (G1) here last fall.

Gomo has accumulated 20 points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1), good for 16th in the standings. The Oaks is limited to 14 starters and leading the points chase for the race is stablemate Land Over Sea with 128 points.

“I am not sure about the Oaks or if we are going to keep them separate,” Sisterson said. “If both get in the gate (for the Oaks), it would be special.”

Land Over Sea, winner of the TwinSpires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in her most recent start, is scheduled to ship to Keeneland Tuesday from her Southern California base.

Also in the O’Neill barn at Keeneland is Ralis, who was beaten less than a length in a fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral (G3) at Turfway Park. Winner of the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga last summer, Ralis has accumulated no points toward the Kentucky Derby.

“We will see how he comes out of the race,” Sisterson said. “He will let us know when he is ready.”

Nyquist is a graduate of two Keeneland auctions. In 2013, Paramount Sales, agent, consigned him as a weanling to the November Breeding Stock Sale, where he was purchased by Madison Farm for $180,000. At the 2014 September Yearling Sale, consignor Dromoland Farm, agent, sold Nyquist to Sutton Place Stables for $230,000.

Accompanying Nyquist and Gomo on Sunday’s flight from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Blue Grass Airport were a number of horses that will train and race at Keeneland during the 2016 Spring Meet that runs April 8-29.

Keeneland adjusts parking for 2016 Spring Meet

Keeneland has modified the race-day parking plan for its upcoming Spring Meet, to be held April 8-29. These changes are based on efficiencies created for last fall’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland and are designed to facilitate traffic flow around the grounds for patrons.

With space for 10,000 cars, Keeneland offers fans a variety of parking options. This spring, free public parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in Rows 10-20 and Rows 26-34 near the Grandstand. Free parking is also available in The Meadow and on The Hill, both located adjacent to the Keeneland Entertainment Center.

“We want our guests to have a memorable racing experience, and that starts the minute you enter our gates,” said Keeneland Vice President and COO Vince Gabbert. “We are hopeful these adjustments will minimize traffic holdups, especially on big race days.”

As in the fall, the parking area formerly known as the Louisville Lot near the final turn is closed. Tailgaters are encouraged to join the fun on The Hill, which offers racing action via a jumbo screen and mutuel machines, plus local food trucks and live Bluegrass music.

For those patrons using the free parking and tailgating lots, Keeneland provides free shuttle service to and from the Grandstand. Shuttle stops are situated throughout the grounds, and shuttles run continuously from 10 a.m. until 30 minutes after the last race.

Drop-off and pick-up for taxis, Uber and Lyft will be located at the top of the Drive-Thru Betting lane.

Keeneland will make five gates around the track’s perimeter available to fans entering and exiting the grounds. In addition to Gates 1 and 2 off Versailles Road and Gate 3 off Rice Road, Gates 4 and 5 on Van Meter Road once again will be open for vehicular traffic.

For ease of traffic flow, Keeneland suggests the following gate access to patrons:

— Gate 1 (Versailles Road across from Man o’ War Blvd): Free public parking, handicap parking, buses and RVs, taxis/Uber/Lyft.

— Gate 2 (off Versailles Road): Permit and Clubhouse valet parking.

— Gate 3 (off Rice Road): Barns, Stable Office, Racing Office and Track Kitchen.

— Gates 4 and 5 (off Van Meter Road): The Hill parking.

Additional Security at Admission Gates

This spring, fans will also notice additional security when entering Keeneland’s admission gates. Patrons will be asked to open their coats or jackets for visual inspection, and soft checks will be done of purses and backpacks.

As always, firearms and weapons are not allowed within the race track gates.

“These security measures are similar to those in place at other sporting and entertainment venues, and we want to ensure the safety of our guests at all times,” Gabbert said.

For more information on these changes, including a map of Keeneland, please visit this site.

From Keeneland Communications


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