Sunday, May 8, 2016

Shadwell Farm's Derby horses mainly disappoint; Mohaymen was fourth by a nose; Shagaf walked off

Story and photo by Stepper Toth
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Midway’s Shadwell Farm fell short this year at the Kentucky Derby with Mohaymen finishing a close fourth and Shagaf finishing last. Nyquist was the winner.

Mohaymen, bought by Shadwell for $2.2 million as a yearling, was a 12-1 shot as the Derby began. Shagaf, foaled at Shadwell’s Lexington farm, was 55-1 and did not finish, as new jockey Joel Rosario saw him tiring, pulled him up and walked him off the track.

Mohaymen was again not able to prove himself against Nyquist, who had ruined Mohaymen’s perfect record of 4-0 on April 2 at the Florida Derby, where Mohaymen placed fourth on a muddy track.
In the post parade, Mohaymen jockey Junior Alvarado appeared to look at the videoboard as it showed Nyquist.
Nyquist, undefeated in eight races, was the fourth straight favorite to win the Derby. He also completed the race the fastest since 2003, in 2:01.31, over a track that was rated fast though it had puddles from a thundershower an hour and a half earlier. Nyquist won the Derby by 1¼ lengths over Exaggerator, with Gun Runner third.

Nyquist’s win immediately spurred speculation the he could win the Triple Crown of the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, as American Pharoah did last year for the first time in 37 years.

Mohaymen’s trainer, Lexington native Kiaran McLaughlin. told reporters, “Congratulations to Nyquist, he’s still undefeated. He’s a star. I don’t know about the Triple Crown, but we’ll have a great year.”

As for his own horse, McLaughlin said Mohaymen broke too slowly. He told reporters, “It was too much ground to make up by then; he didn’t get away great and he [jockey Junior Alvarado] said that he spun his wheels too early, but he had a pretty good trip and saved ground around the first turn. He came out and put in a good run.”

At the finish, Mohaymen was only a head behind third-place Gun Runner, and a nose in front of Suddenbreakingnews. And while he didn’t return any money to bettors, Mohaymen still won Shadwell fourth-place money of $100,000. Nyquist won $1,631,600, Exaggerator $400,000, Gun Runner $200,000 and Suddenbreakingnews $60,000.

McLaughlin said he is unsure about where Mohaymen will run next because it is too early to tell. UPDATE: McLaughlin said Sunday that Mohaymen would not run in the Preakness or Belmont, and would probably aim toward the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August, "With probably something before that."

Shagaf’s trainer, Chad Brown, told reporters, “Shagaf was a huge disappointment. He got up there in the race, attending a pretty hot pace, but I liked the fact that he was out of trouble. Then he just completely spit the bit. I’m not sure what exactly happened. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board. He trained so well leading up to it, that’s a surprise to me, a disappointment.”

This year’s Derby had the second largest attendance ever, with 167,227 people going through the gates at Churchill Downs.

This video, from NBC and Churchill Downs, via the Lexington Herald-Leader, shows the entire race, including Shagaf being pulled up in the final furlong:

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