Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist returned to the track Thursday morning for the first time since spiking a fever days after his third-place finish in the Preakness Stakes on May 21.
Accompanied on the pony by Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, Nyquist jogged one lap around the main track at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
The reigning champion 2-year-old male had been limited to walking the shedrow since exiting the middle leg of the Triple Crown with a fever and elevated white blood cell count that forced his connections to cancel plans for a rematch with Preakness winner Exaggerator in the Belmont Stakes on June 11.
“He went great this morning. We just jogged him once, backtracked him around and he was full of energy — everything we wanted to see first day back after his slight issue there — but he’s doing great,” Sisterson said. “We’re very happy and optimistic moving forward with Nyquist.”
Sisterson said Nyquist will train Friday at 8:30 a.m. and is scheduled to leave Sunday morning to rejoin O’Neill and owner J. Paul Reddam in California. No plans have been made where Nyquist may race next.
“Doug and Paul are excited to get him back at Santa Anita,” Sisterson said. “We have four runners that are going to run on Belmont Day and we leave Sunday also. We’re excited.”
Nyquist won each of his first eight starts including five Grade I races on five different racetracks before his third-place finish as the favorite in the Preakness, where he ran the fastest opening quarter-mile in race history (22.38 seconds). Exaggerator won by 3 1/2 lengths and Nyquist was nosed to third by late-running Cherry Wine.