Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Nyquist to miss Belmont Stakes

Published:Friday | May 27, 2016 | 5:00 AM

NEW YORK (AP):

So much for a rematch in the Belmont Stakes.

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist won't run in the final leg of the Triple Crown after developing a fever and having an elevated white blood cell count, trainer Doug O'Neill said Tuesday.

"He's out because of sickness," O'Neill said.

Any thoughts of a second straight Triple Crown were wiped in the Preakness last Saturday when Exaggerator finally defeated Nyquist after four previous losses.

A rematch in the Belmont on June 11 would have been the next best thing to a Triple Crown attempt. Last year, American Pharaoh became the first horse in 37 years to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

"He's fine, but he's got an elevated white blood cell count," O'Neill's assistant Jack Sisterson said from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, where Nyquist is recovering. "We just want to do right by him and get him 100 percent."

Nyquist came into the Preakness unbeaten in eight races, including a 1 1/4 length win over Exaggerator in the Derby. Exaggerator turned the tables in the Preakness, winning by 3 1/2 lengths over a sloppy track, with Nyquist finishing third.

Now, Exaggerator will take on a bunch of rivals he's already finished ahead of in the Derby and Preakness, including Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine and Lani, fifth in the Preakness and ninth in the Derby.

"We're sorry that Nyquist cannot compete at the 2016 Belmont Stakes and hope for a speedy recovery and return to the racetrack," said New York Racing Association president Chris Kay in a statement.