Ready, set, here comes Nyquist.
The unbeaten colt makes his much-anticipated 3-year-old debut in the San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita on Monday, capping off a holiday weekend of four Kentucky Derby prep races.
"We're pumped," trainer Doug O'Neill said Thursday.
Nyquist has won all five of his races, and comes into the 7-furlong San Vicente as a leading Derby contender. The race is not among the 35 designated preps carrying points that determine the field for the Derby, but Nyquist is ready to run and currently leads the pack with 30 points.
The Derby preps worth points are Saturday's El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields and Monday's Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs is a non-scoring prep on Saturday.
Exaggerator, winner of the Delta Downs Jackpot, also is set for his 3-year-old debut in the San Vicente.
Nyquist will be making his first start since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last October and being voted 2-year-old male champion.
"I think just getting him back to competition is mandatory, obviously, so we're all excited and pumped the way he's coming into it," O'Neill said. "The bottom line is you can't say too much until he runs the race. Hopefully, he runs big."
Team Nyquist is quite familiar with the Triple Crown trail. O'Neill, jockey Mario Gutierrez and owner J. Paul Reddam won the 2012 Derby and Preakness with I'll Have Another, but the horse was scratched with an injury, then retired, a day before the Belmont Stakes.
Exaggerator, trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother Kent, ran fourth in the BC Juvenile before winning at Delta Downs three weeks later. Also expected to run in what looks like a small field is Electrifying, one of seven horses nominated to the race by Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert.