Horses to Watch: Integration, Nysos impress in stakes

Horses to Watch: Integration, Nysos impress in stakes
Photo: Susie Raisher / NYRA

New to the watch list


A son of 2019 champion male sprinter Mitole, Carbone entered a six-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs off fast workouts and ran to his training, decisively smashing nine rivals in the Sunday contest.

The Steve Asmussen-trained juvenile broke on top and made the front through an opening quarter-mile in 22.13 seconds. He maintained his lead through a half-mile in 45.77 seconds and then kicked away in the homestretch, running his final two furlongs in the quick times of 11.86 and 12.21 seconds to win by eight lengths in 1:09.84.

Carbone’s fast finish bodes well for stretching out in distance, so don’t be surprised if he turns up on the road to the Kentucky Derby.


Three starts, three victories. Integration was unraced at the beginning of August, but since then the 3-year-old son of Quality Road has been unstoppable. Did you see his victory in the Grade 3 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in September? He launched a powerful rally from off the pace to beat Saratoga Derby (G1) winner Program Trading by 1 1/4 lengths in the course-record time of 1:46.41 for 1 1/8 miles on the outer turf.

Integration was every bit as sharp in the 1 1/8-mile Hill Prince (G2) at Aqueduct on Saturday. After settling as many as eight lengths behind two runaway speed horses, Integration gobbled up ground and finished sensationally fast (final furlong in 10.85 seconds) to dominate by five lengths in 1:47.06 seconds. At this point, there’s no telling how good Integration might be, and he looks like a Grade 1 winner in the making.

Recent watch list winners


Is Nysos one of the best 2-year-olds in training? That certainly appeared to be the case when he dominated Sunday’s Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar with effortless ease.

Coming off a runaway debut victory at Santa Anita, Nysos was content to trail a four-horse field during the early stages of the Bob Hope, settling two lengths behind an opening quarter-mile in 22.34 seconds. But then he advanced into the teeth of a half-mile in 44.97 seconds and took over under virtually no urging in the homestretch, widening his advantage with authority to win by 8 3/4 lengths in the excellent time of 1:21.71.

A stoutly bred son of Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist out of a mare by Preakness hero Bernardini, Nysos is bred to shine running long and could be a great fit for next month’s 1 1/16-mile Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

Worth another try

Royal Slipper

Keeneland debut winner carved out splits of 22.03 and 45.55 seconds in the seven-furlong Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar then weakened in the homestretch to finish third by 2 1/4 lengths. It wasn’t the sharpest effort from a 2-5 favorite, but Royal Slipper was shipping across the country and stretching out in distance. I try not to drop juveniles from my watch list off a single defeat, so I’ll give Royal Slipper another chance next time.

Here is my complete, updated list of Horses to Watch.

In this biweekly series, racing analyst J. Keeler Johnson shares promising horses from his handicapping watch list, reviewing runners who have recently caught his eye and previewing horses scheduled to run back in the near future.

Top Stories

Before the dust settled on Friday’s court order to...
I'm generally a big believer in Grade 1 horses win...
Given the nine-furlong distance of the Grade 2, $2...
They have traveled 3,000 miles in hopes of landing...
These Saturday races at Aqueduct meet the criteria...