Mohaymen has gone from being the darling of the horse racing media to a forgotten entity in a little over a month. Before the Florida Derby, the media couldn’t stop talking about Kieran McLaughlin’s then-undefeated horse and his supposed superiority over Doug O’Neill’s Nyquist. The rationale for calling one undefeated horse superior to the other never made much sense but the media kept making the case for Mohaymen.
Since the Florida Derby–where Nyquist won and Mohaymen was relegated to fourth place–the media has been oddly silent. A few of the more circumspect writers have admitted that Nyquist was underrated heading into the Florida Derby but they’ve been voices in an otherwise quiet wilderness. Some of the media types have jumped on the Nyquist bandwagon but they’ve just about all abandoned Mohaymen who is now the third choice in futures betting at Wynn Las Vegas at 10/1.
So now Mohaymen is ‘under the radar’ which makes the Kentucky Derby week media obligations easier for his connections. That being said, trainer Kieran McLaughlin would take a little craziness: “If we were undefeated, it’d be a little crazy. But I think I would take the craziness and be undefeated.” McLaughlin thinks he understands the reasons behind Mohaymen’s relatively poor performance at Gulfstream Park last time out: “No. 1, I think we were on the worst part of the track. No. 2, we traveled 54 feet farther [than Nyquist] on the worst part of the track. No one was going to win from out there.” Additionally, he said that his horse was drained from a 45 minute van ride to Gulfstream from his training facility in the brutal heat and humidity of South Florida.
McLaughlin also admitted that at the time he thought his horse would never lose: “At first, obviously I was very disappointed with the results because, you hate to say it, I didn’t think he would ever lose, really. I didn’t. Five for five and you just feel like you’re not going to lose.” The trainer shipped Mohaymen to Kentucky just a few days after the Florida Derby to get him out of the heat and humidity. A week from now we’ll know if that was a smart move and if Mohaymen was able to gain redemption in the Kentucky Derby.