The Kentucky Derby 2016 results are in, and Nyquist has surged to a win to take home the top prize and maintain his perfect record.
The derby favorite pulled through in the end, taking the lead down the stretch and holding off a late charge by second-place Exaggerator. Gun Runner finished third.
In the lead-up to the 2016 Kentucky Derby, the story was mostly centered on undefeated Nyquist and his chances of extending his winning streak in the 142nd running of the derby. He was the first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner to enter the Kentucky Derby with a perfect record, and as ESPN noted, only four horses in the history of the race came in with a better record than Nyquist’s 7-0. Two of those horses won the race — Morvich in 1922 and Majestic Prince in 1969.
After three consecutive years where the favorite won the derby, many had expected the 2016 Kentucky Derby results to show favorite Nyquist once again on top, and he delivered.
The other big story of the day was the shadow of American Pharoah, whose quest for the Triple Crown started in last year’s Kentucky Derby. Many experts worried that the 2016 Kentucky Derby would suffer a bit of Triple Crown hangover, with a dip in both ratings and interest.
There are also lingering questions about the horse racing industry itself, including questions on whether the sport needs a commissioner to oversee it. The differing rules for each state and no standard for drug testing lead many to worry about the future of the sport.
“We are fiddling while Rome is burning,” former Maryland Jockey Club Chief Executive Joe De Francis said last week at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing in Washington (via Reuters).
“It is the very nature of the regulatory framework, the pervasive regulation on a state-by-state basis, that prevents us from solving our own problems through a commissioner’s office the way football can do or the way baseball can do,” he added.
De Francis advocated for legislation that would give authority for drug testing to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees testing for the U.S. Olympic teams.
Better leadership at the top could also help the sport’s dip in popularity. Betting has fallen from a peak of $15.2 billion in 2003 to $10.6 billion last year, with new options in gambling and entertainment taking a greater share each year, Reuters noted.
Despite the lingering questions and the absence of a big name like American Pharoah, the 2016 Kentucky Derby still had its own excitement. ESPN noted that this was one of the more wide-open races in recent years. Though Nyquist came in with a stellar record, there was no American Pharoah expected to dominate the field. Instead, as many as five horses were seen as having a strong chance to win the Kentucky Derby.
“Don’t discount a long shot to have a say in the outcome. Since 2000, there have been just as many winners with odds of 15-1 or worse, and the average price of the winner has been greater than during the period from 1980 to 1999. That tells you if the favorite doesn’t win, a real long shot could.
“In four of the past five years, a horse that was at least 15-1 finished first or second, and in two of the past three years, a 30-1 shot ran second. Last year was the first time since 1996 that three horses with 10-1 odds or better completed the trifecta. The last time that happened in consecutive years was 1988-89.”
Those looking for complete results including payouts for the 2016 Kentucky Derby can find it all here. It will be updated within minutes of the race’s finish.
[Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images]