Five-time grade 1 winner Nyquist , who won the 2016 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), will have his first starter with the Wesley Ward-trained Breakthrough this week. The 2-year-old colt is cross-entered in race 2 of both the May 8 and 9 Gulfstream Park cards. Both races are 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight tests.
Should the colt run Friday, he is slated as the morning-line favourite at odds of 6-5 and drew post 5 in an overflow field of eight that has four also-eligibles in waiting.
Restored Order, the first starter for grade 1 winner Frosted , is among those four and is also cross-entered in the May 9 race, where the Todd Pletcher trainee is listed at odds of 4-1 in post 2.
Owned by Ramon Tallaj and Constance Wickes, Breakthrough was a $330,000 yearling when he was purchased from the Stuart Morris consignment of The July Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s select 2-year-old sale in Lexington, by Corinthian Medical and Wilson Sisk.
“(Breakthrough) is of Royal Ascot quality. He’s done everything right,” Ward said.
He was bred in Kentucky by Highclere and Springtown Show Stables and is out of the Storm Creek mare Murky Waters, who has one stakes winner and two other winners from five foals to race.
Ward gave Breakthrough a blowout May 4, when the colt breezed through three furlongs in :36.30 on the Palm Meadows Training Center turf to be the fastest of eight that day. His previous works came at various tracks, including Turfway Park, Keeneland, and Gulfstream Park West.
“Early on, he was a big, nice-looking colt. I thought he’d kind of be one we’d wait a little bit with,” Ward explained. “Then I gave him a nice easy work on the grass, and he flew. He takes to the grass at Palm Meadows, and every subsequent work since, he just kept getting faster and better. He’s put it all together. I’m really excited about this guy. He will do both surfaces. It looks like he is going to be a really, really nice, super-nice colt.”
Among the competition in Friday’s maiden race is stablemate Chasing Artie, who drew the outside post and was assigned odds of 4-1.
The We Miss Artie gelding has worked three bullets in a row. He clocked a four-furlong breeze from the gate at Gulfstream Park West in :48 3/5 April 1 and then another half-mile at the same track in :48 1/5 April 26. Moved to Palm Meadows, Chasing Artie completed a three-furlong work on turf May 3 in :35 4/5 to be the fastest of 11.
“Chasing Artie is very nice. He’s a homebred of Mr. (Ken) Ramsey’s,” Ward said. “He doesn’t have the breeding that the Nyquist has, but he is big, fast, good-looking, and forward.
“Fortunately, in saying that he doesn’t have the breeding, we were able to geld him because he was a little unruly, and it just mentally turned him right around. He’s just a really, really talented guy.”
Two colts who have graded stakes-winning siblings have been set at longer odds. Carson City Kid, trained by Mark Casse, drew the rail. He is an Uncaptured full brother to grade 3 winner Catherinethegreat. First Naval Admiral, who placed fifth in his April 17 debut at Gulfstream, is a Fort Loudon half-brother to grade 1 winner Awesome Feather.