Shades of Morvich in Nyquist

Nothing like an undefeated champion two year old winning Derby and never winning again, right? Nyquist is on track to being the second horse to accomplish that feat.

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The Ugly Cripple

In 1921 a black California-bred colt named Morvich stunned the racing community when he went 11 for 11 at two. Before he started racing he was given the nickname “the ugly cripple” and was 30-1 in his first race! At least he was a fast cripple.

Morvich did not race in 1922 until the Kentucky Derby which he won with ease. He likely would have run in the Preakness as well but considering in 1922 they were run on the same day that would have been tricky, especially back then.

After the Derby there were talks of whether or not he was as good as Man O’ War. (Fun fact: In that Derby was My Play, a full brother to Man O’ War.) Some guy named “Honest” John Kelly said, “I will wait before he has completed this season’s work before calling him a greater horse than Man O’ War.” Hmmm.

Morvich lost his first two after the Derby to Whiskaway in the Carlton Stakes at Aqueduct and the Kentucky Special at Latonia a week later. Whiskaway would go on to become the champion three year old of 1922.

One race all he had to do was beat one horse. The seven furlong Greenwich Handicap had 11 horses entered but everyone else scratched, Morvich ended up getting crushed by Surf Rider. He had one more race in September at Belmont where he finished last in the Fall Highweight Handicap. His owner Ben Bock insisted he would come back in 1923, but he didn’t and retired in shame. He even stunk as a sire too. Tough to be Morvich.

Fast forward nearly 100 years and here we are with Nyquist. The undefeated champion two year old won the Kentucky Derby and has racked up over $5,000,000. Next thing we know he’s had two races since and lost them both, pretty soundly too.

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Not an ugly cripple

Are we seeing a repeat of Morvich? To Nyquist’s credit no one has ever called him a cripple or ugly.

Even though Nyquist has already been sold to stand at Darley, he will likely finish out the year with a stab at the Breeders’ Cup Classic and considering Reddam has an entry in the Pegasus World Cup he may run there as well. 

What’s crazy is all three horses who have come into the Kentucky Derby as an undefeated champ left with roses on their back. Morvich, Seattle Slew, and Nyquist. Since Nyquist didn’t win the Triple Crown like Seattle Slew, well,we can see where his career is heading. Because obviously, he only has two options. Triple Crown or lose forever.

Who knows how Nyquist will do the rest of the year. His last two races were basically the same, so he’ll probably bounce back eventually if he gets a fast track or gets off the rail.

Best of luck Nyquist, don’t end up like Morvich. (oops)

You can read more about Morvich in his autobiography here.

*As of the Pennsylvania Derby on 9/24/2016, he did not bounce back and if anything did even worse. Uh oh.

*As of 10/29/2016 he scratched out of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Future undetermined, but will stand at Darley when he retires. Still winless since the Kentucky Derby

*As of 10/31/2016 Nyquist is officially retired and already at Darley. Its all over. Nyquist is the second coming of Morvich.

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