The 2015 horse racing season is winding down with the start of December and most bettors would agree that this has been the best one in recent memory.
A new crop of contenders have cut their teeth as juveniles over the past few months and while it is far too early to anoint any of these two-year olds as the next great thing in horse racing, the following short list are my top favorites to make a run at Triple Crown history in 2016. It all starts with their current betting odds to win next year’s Kentucky Derby according to MyBookie.
Right now, this two-year old Kentucky-bred colt has emerged has the top contender on the board after his stirring victory in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland at the end of October. Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist is closing following in the footsteps of American Pharoah with a perfect 5-0 start to his racing career.
Along with the victory in the BC Juvenile, Nyquist has also posted wins in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 7 and the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park later that same month. This pedigree of Uncle Mo impressed bettors right out of the gate with a first place finish in the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar in his first major graded stakes race. His current rating with Horse Racing Nation stands at 8.56 and his current odds to win the 2016 Kentucky Derby are the best on the board at MyBookie at +1000.
If Nyquist falters somewhere along the line as a three-year old, then this two-year old Kentucky-bred colt could be right there to take his place as the top dog on my list. Swipe is still looking for his first career victory in a major graded stakes race, but on four separate occasions he has finished right behind Nyquist in the place position in what is shaping up to be an interesting rivalry. This heated competition started in the Best Pal Stakes and more recently Swipe finished second to Nyquist in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by Victor Espinosa, his HRN rating comes in at 7.81 and his early odds to win the 2016 Kentucky Derby are set at +2000, which are the second-best on the board among an extensive list of contenders. Somewhere along the way Swipe is going to have to beat Nyquist to be taken seriously, but the talent to get it done is definitely there.
I went with this horse in last week’s Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct as my top choice and he came through with the victory. This two-year old Kentucky-bred colt has a solid trainer in Kiaran McLaughlin and he has been ridden by veteran jockey Junior Alavardo, which gives him a great pairing heading into next year’s three-year old campaign. Mohaymen started things off with a win in a Maiden Special Weight race at Belmont and with his previous victory in the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 4 he is now 3-0 in his racing career.
The current plan for Mohaymen according to McLaughlin is to run him early next year in the Grade 2 Holy Bull on Jan. 30 at Gulfstream. With last Saturday’s win, he now has the second-highest HRN rating on the board among two-year olds at 7.95 and his odds to win next year’s Kentucky Derby are also set at +2000.
Other Top Contenders
A few of the other top two-year olds that I will be watching very closely in the coming months are Brody’s Cause, Air Force Blue and Cocked and Loaded. The first two horses on this list also have +2000 betting odds to win the next Kentucky Derby and I see some great value in Cocked and Loaded’s +3500 betting odds to win the 2016 Run for the Roses.