By Eric Mitchell BloodHorse
Campaigned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber and trained by Mark Casse, Gretzky the Great was acquired privately after being bought back by Anderson Farms on a final bid of $295,000 during the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearling Sale. He became a winner in his second career start at 2 and captured his first black-type stakes in his third start when he won the Soaring Free Stakes at Woodbine. He quickly joined the ranks of grade 1 stakes winners as a juvenile in his first graded stakes start, taking Woodbine’s CA$300,000 Summer Stakes (G1T) at one mile on the turf by 3 1/4 lengths. After stalking the pace throughout, Gretzky the Great entered the lane in the two-path and powered clear late to score under a hand ride in 1:34.53.
At season’s end, Gretzky the Great contested that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Presented by Coolmore America (G1T) where he encountered a rough trip and finished sixth in a field of 14 runners. His 2-year-old campaign overall earned him honors as Sovereign Award champion 2-year-old male.
At 3, Gretzky the Great flashed his customary early foot to win the $150,000 Greenwood Stakes Presented by Stella Artois at Woodbine. After pressing the pace throughout, he drove to the lead and determinedly fought to the wire to prevail, notching his third stakes victory. He went on to finish third in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. He retires with a 4-2-1 record from 11 starts and $379,866 in earnings.
Bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms, Gretzky the Great is out of the multiple stakes-placed Bernardini mare Pearl Turn . His second dam, the Kris S. daughter Turn Me Loose, is a half sister to grade 2 winner and sire Saint Anddan . Other stakes performers in the immediate family include grade 1 winner Love Theway Youare and graded stakes winners Luftikus , Tower of Texas , and Street Sounds . Luftikus set a track record for 1 1/16 miles of 1:40.87 at Lone Star Park in the Lone Star Park Handicap (G3).
Darley Stallions’ Nyquist, a son of Uncle Mo , was a three-time grade 1 winner and undefeated at 2 in 2015. He was named Eclipse champion 2-year-old male after winning the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). At 3, Nyquist won his first three starts, stringing together consecutive wins in the San Vicente Stakes (G2), Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1), and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). He went on to finish third in the Preakness Stakes (G1). As a sire, Nyquist became the leading North America freshman sire for 2020 by progeny earnings ($2,424,083) and for number of grade 1 winners (two). His first crop included multiple grade 1 winner Vequist , who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and was named Eclipse champion 2-year-old filly. Nyquist is the second-ranked third-crop sire of 2022 by progeny earnings as of Oct. 7 and has been represented by three graded stakes winners this year.