Monmouth Park yesterday announced by press release that from the West Coast to the East Coast, Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Iowa Derby winner American Freedom touched down at Atlantic City International Airport just after 3 p.m. and arrived at Monmouth Park late Wednesday afternoon for their run in the Grade 1, $1 million betfair.com Haskell Invitational on Sunday.
Nyquist, who shipped in from Del Mar yesterday, is making his first start off a third-place finish in the Preakness at Pimlico on May 21, the first blemish in his nine-race career.
A 3-year-old colt by Uncle Mo out of the Forestry mare Seeking Gabrielle, Nyquist made his final preparations for his run for Haskell glory on July 24 at Del Mar when he went a mile in 1:39 2/5.
Owned by Reddam Racing LLC, Nyquist broke his maiden at first asking before finishing off his undefeated 2015 season with three straight Grade 1 wins, capping it with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland en route to 2-year-old champion honors.
Nyquist started his sophomore season with a win in the seven-furlong Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita before making his first trip to the east coast and taking the field wire-to-wire in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.
Along with Nyquist, trainer Bob Baffert’s American Freedom flew in from Del Mar to try and give his conditioner a record ninth Haskell title.
Owned by Gary and Mary West, American Freedom exits a score in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on July 1 where he broke sharply from the gate and took a narrow lead going into the first turn. From there, the colt never looked back, posting a 4 ¾ length win.
A son of Pulpit out of the Pleasant Tap mare Gottcha Last, American Freedom is 3-for-4 in his brief career having graduated from the maiden ranks at first asking before finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on Kentucky Derby Day. He earned his way back to the winner’s circle on the Preakness undercard in the Sir Barton Stakes by a length.
Other horses entered in the Haskell are: Exaggerator – Preakness Stakes winner, Brody’s Cause – who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby, Gun Runner – who finished second in the Kentucky Derby, Awesome Slew, and Sunny Ridge