For all the negative buzz about Nyquist's average speed figures and vulnerability, the newly crowned and much-deserving 2016 Kentucky Derby winner might just have the most impeccable credentials of any Derby winner in the illustrious history of the race - and certainly in the modern era.
On Friday at Churchill Downs, the field has been set for the 142nd running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks. The Grade 1 event, carded at a mile and an eighth, has drawn a full field of fourteen three-year-old fillies with one listed as an also-eligible.
With the final round of Kentucky Derby preps in the books, it seems improbable, but arguable that the March 12 Tampa Derby was the most useful and review-worthy of the 24 official point-bearing races in 2016.
The handicapping public may find it difficult to get worked into a lather over the five-horse field set to contest the Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes Sunday, April 17 at Keeneland, but there's at least one filly worth keeping a close eye one.
On Saturday at Oaklawn Park, the stakes action will continue with the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap. Scheduled to be run at a mile and an eighth on the main track, the Grade 2 has drawn a competitive field of eight colts and geldings.
On Saturday at Keeneland, the top class stakes action will continue with the $300,000 Madison Stakes. Scheduled to be run at seven furlongs, the Grade 1 event has drawn a stellar field of thirteen fillies and mares.
Opening day at Keeneland features its usual bevy of top-class stakes action, led by the Grade 1, $1 million Blue Grass Stakes as an overflow field of 16, including two from the also-eligible list will contest the mile and one eighth race worth 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
On Saturday at Turfway Park, the graded stakes action will kick off with the $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks. Restricted to three-year-old fillies, the Grade 3 event will be contested at one mile on the synthetic main track and has drawn a full field of twelve with two others entered as also-eligible.
Betting against Chocolate Ride at the Fair Grounds has been a fruitless proposition for those with that though in mind, and could be so again as the six year-old gelding faces ten rivals March 26 in the Muniz Memorial Handicap.