Granted, Nyquist still hasn't answered every possible question. There will be those who will point out that he was drifting in the stretch, often the sign of a tired horse. That isn't something you want to see in a horse who will be tackling 10 furlongs for the first time next month. On the other hand, the colt finished willingly under a hand ride and got his final furlong in a respectable 12.73, and his 1:49.11 for the 9 furlongs on a track rated good was better than many a fast-track Florida Derby at Gulfstream, though slower than the 1:48.42 Valid posted over the same distance in the Skip Away Stakes (USA-III) earlier on the same card. All in all, it was a good final prep for Nyquist, who got some solid work in without being overtaxed.
Mohaymen, on the other hand, came out of the race with more questions than answers. While he certainly wasn't helped by a wide trip through the first turn and a move that may have been premature, the fact remains that he had nothing when called on and was showing signs of pressure relatively early in the running. If he simply threw in a clunker, the first Saturday in April is certainly a better time for that than the first Saturday in May, but it still isn't a good sign as the Kentucky Derby draws closer. If some minor physical ailment proves to have been the issue, that may be somewhat reassuring to the colt's fans but will still represent a setback in Mohaymen's Kentucky Derby preparation at a time when setbacks are not what a trainer wants to be dealing with.
While the Florida Derby may have been disappointing to fans hoping for an exciting spectacle, owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill came out as big winners on the day, having scooped up the winner's share of a US$1 million purse plus a US$1 million bonus for Nyquist's having been a Fasig-Tipton Florida graduate. They also got a virtually ideal final Kentucky Derby prep for their colt, landing another high-stakes gamble following their decision to bring the colt up to Churchill Downs off just two races, one a sprint. Now, it's up to O'Neill to keep the colt healthy and happy until May 7, when Nyquist will have the ultimate chance to face down his doubters.