ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Nyquist remained undefeated with a 1 1/2-length victory in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes on Monday at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist ran seven furlongs in 1:20.71, the third-fastest time in the race's history, which dates to 1955 when current distance was installed.
The 3-year-old colt paid $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10 as the 2-5 favorite in the field of five. Nyquist improved to 6-0, and earned $120,000 to boost his career earnings to $1,733,600, making him the richest colt in the nation so far this year.
Nyquist is trained by Doug O'Neill, who guided I'll Have Another to victories in the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
The colt earned 10 points for the victory and remains atop the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 30 points. The standings determine the 20-horse field for the May 7 race.
Exaggerator returned $2.40 and $2.10 as the 5-2 second choice.
Denman's Call, also trained by O'Neill, paid $2.60 to show.
Nyquist had been idle since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 31. He broke from the rail, was pressed around the far turn, built a length lead turning for home and repelled a challenge from Exaggerator to win going away.
''He hasn't run since November so we know he was going to be rank, but I also believe in his talent,'' said Gutierrez, who also rode I'll Have Another. ''I wasn't worried about Exaggerator today. I can't be worried about that, about other horses. I know my horse is talented enough to make it to the bigger races so if I'm worried about other horses now, this early, than that makes me sound like I don't believe in my horse and I do.''
Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother Kent, Exaggerator sat a close third after the first quarter-mile. The colt lost to Nyquist for the third time.
''You'd have to break the track record to win the race, so that's telling for both horses,'' Kent Desormeaux said. ''They're both very talented. I had a dream trip. The winner was too good.''