Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist did not ship from Baltimore to New York to begin preparations for the Belmont Stakes as planned on Monday after he was found to have a 102 degree temperature, trainer Doug O’Neill confirmed via text message.
The news was first reported by the Daily Racing Form.
Nyquist suffered his first career loss in nine starts when he finished third behind Exaggerator in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. O’Neill said Sunday morning that the reigning juvenile male champion had come out of that effort “fantastic” and that plans were to press on to the final leg of the Triple Crown.
On Monday, however, O’Neill said that blood was taken and that they would “know more tomorrow” on Nyquist’s diagnosis and his chances of running in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. An update on O’Neill’s Facebook page later Monday said Nyquist’s temperature was back to normal after receiving treatment for the fever and that they would know Tuesday “if he has a bug that needs to be treated.”
Nyquist was found to have a slightly elevated white blood count a couple days after his victory in the Grade I Florida Derby on April 2, likely brought on by the stress of shipping from Florida to Kentucky. The son of Uncle Mo missed a few days of training due to that setback and went on to capture the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/4 lengths over Exaggerator.
Owned by Paul Reddam, Nyquist has won eight of nine career starts — including five Grade I races — with earnings of $5,119,200.