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Woody’s feeds Kentucky Derby winner

Training, money, patience, genetic design, a good jockey and a little bit of luck are part of the mixture for a winning race horse. But one ingredient that may be overlooked is what that horse is fed up to three times a day.

Training, money, patience, genetic design, a good jockey and a little bit of luck are part of the mixture for a winning race horse. But one ingredient that may be overlooked is what that horse is fed up to three times a day.

For undefeated thoroughbred Nyquist, some of his success can also be attributed to a successful performance horse feed created by Dickinson business Woody’s Feed and Grain.

After Nyquist’s win at the pinnacle of horse racing -- the Kentucky Derby on May 6 -- he was decorated with a sash of red roses.

Underneath the flowers that adorned his body and the jockey who pushed Nyquist to his limits were a sack of nutrients that gave the horse the power.

“This particular diet, Summer Heat, was one of our first beet pulp feeds that we came out with,” said Woody’s manager Alan Woodbury. “The trainers of today work with so many horses, like Doug (O’Neill) trains over 100. He wants all of his nutrition in one bag.”

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O’Neil and Woodbury have been working closely with each other for more than two decades.

Woodbury said O'Neill was one of the first trainers who used this certain mixture of feed and it proved a good choice for him. He has continued to use the Summer Heat mixture since.

“It’s totally fortified and the energy is derived from three different sources,” Woodbury said.

There's starch, high-fat oil that's metabolized and beet pulp, which is high in fiber feed and has the same energy value as oats, he said.

Woody’s has dealers across the nation that use Summer Heat, a beet pulp-based feed, that they sell to horse trainers.  

Not only did their feed go into the stomach of Nyquist but also of 11 of the 22 horses that competed in the Kentucky Derby this year.

And of those 22, eight of the top 12 horses were also fed with Woody’s feed.

The attention Nyquist, his trainer, Doug O’Neill, his owner Paul Reddam and jockey Mario Gutierrez, have received is typical of a Kentucky Derby winning team. But for Woodbury, he said it’s good to have the company’s feed being used by the top horses in the business.

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“Oh, it don’t hurt,” Woodbury said with a chuckle. “But realistically we got to remember somebody feeds the horse that comes in last and we’ve done that as well. It’s a great thing to be involved in and be involved on that level.”

Nyquist -- top dog in horse racing

Nyquist, the undefeated thoroughbred, now has a shot at the coveted Triple Crown.

The horse is the offspring of Uncle Mo, another undefeated champion that was fed by Woody’s.

Nyquist was bought for $400,000 last year by Dennis O’Neill, half of the O’Neill team.

In his three years, Nyquist has achieved something few other race horses have been able to do.

He is only the second horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race for 2-year-old thoroughbreds and go on to win the Kentucky Derby at age 3. He is also one of only eight other horses to go into the Derby undefeated and win.

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It’s no surprise that with those statistics, Nyquist has earned his owners a whopping almost $5 million.

Nyquist finished 1.7 seconds faster than American Pharaoh -- last year’s Derby and Triple Crown winner -- at a 2 minutes, 1.31 seconds. It’s also the fastest time since 2003.

American Pharaoh was the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown.

Nyquist now prepares for the Preakness Stakes on May 21 in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes on June 11 in Elmont, N.Y.

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