There are other motives, of course, not least of which is the UAE Derby's US$2 million purse. Another is that the UAE Derby is contested on dirt, a surface Frank Conversation still needs to prove he can handle well to be a viable Classics contender. And of course, he 's not going to run into Mohaymen there, either.
In spite of its advantages, this is still an audacious move. While the UAE Derby and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands are six weeks apart, it's still asking a lot of a young 3-year-old to travel halfway around the world, race, and then come back for one of the world's toughest tests of the Thoroughbred. There's also no telling just how good the potential competition in Dubai is; Frank Conversation could be headed for easy pickings or a tough fight.
Distance, at least, shouldn't be a problem. Frank Conversation's dam Rushen Heat earned her sole black type in the 2008 California Cup Distance Handicap and is a full sister to Unusual Suspect, a versatile horse who won stakes at distances from 6 to 12 furlongs and was a Grade 1 winner at the latter distance. Nonetheless, O'Neill's willingness to take such an unorthodox step with a promising young horse is, to at least some extent, a measure of just how good he thinks Nyquist is.