ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Undefeated Nyquist, last year's 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner, makes his highly anticipated 3-year-old debut in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes on Monday at Santa Anita.
The 3-year-old colt will take on five rivals in the seven-furlong, Grade 2 race that will be Nyquist's first since he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 31 at Keeneland. The victory capped a 5-0 season and earned the colt Eclipse honors last year.
Nyquist is trained by Doug O'Neill, ridden by Mario Gutierrez and owned by J. Paul Reddam, all of whom teamed with I'll Have Another, who won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before getting injured on the eve of the Belmont Stakes.
The colt has career earnings of $1,613,600, the most of any 3-year-old colt in the country.
''We're just eager to see him compete at a high level on Monday and let that speak for itself,'' O'Neill said. ''That's what I love about this game, though, everyone has an opinion. Whenever you read something negative about your own horses, it's like somebody saying something about your family members. But if he runs a big race Monday, we can write our own story.''
Among Nyquist's rivals is Exaggerator, who has two losses to Nyquist, including a fourth-place finish in the BC Juvenile. Exaggerator has been idle since winning the Delta Jackpot over a muddy track on Nov. 21 at Delta Downs. The colt is trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his Hall of Fame brother Kent. Exaggerator has three
O'Neill's other entry is Denman's Call, a Kentucky-bred gelding who won in his career debut on Jan. 9.
Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert is represented by Electrifying, one of his unproven 3-year-olds.
Florida-bred Sheikh of Sheikhs makes his California debut for trainer Wesley Ward off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 2.
Also shipping in from Florida is El Charro, who was second in a minor stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 2. He has two wins in six starts for trainer David Jacobson.
The field for the San Vicente, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Nyquist, Gutierrez, 124; Electrifying, Tyler Baze, 120; El Charro, Joe Talamo, 120; Denman's Call, Flavien Prat, 120; Exaggerator, Desormeaux, 122; and Sheikh of Sheikhs, Rafael Bejarano, 120.