Two days after the first loss of his career, Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist has developed a slight fever, leaving plans temporarily on hold for a rematch with Preakness winner Exaggerator in the Belmont Stakes.
Trainer Doug O’Neill’s assistant Jack Sisterson said Monday that Nyquist had blood work done “to make sure nothing is going on.” Nyquist finished third behind Exaggerator in the Preakness on Saturday, ending any chance of a Triple Crown try at the Belmont on June 11.
Nyquist was scheduled to be shipped to Belmont Park on Monday morning, but the plan was scrapped when the 3-year-old colt had a temperature of 102 degrees. O’Neill said he still hopes Nyquist runs in the Belmont but needs to make sure he is healthy before traveling to New York from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Results of the blood work are expected Tuesday.
After winning the Florida Derby on April 2, Nyquist was shipped to Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, and his return to training was delayed because of an elevated white blood cell count. At that time, he had no fever, was back on the track in a few days and went on to win the Derby on May 7.
Nyquist came into the Preakness with an 8-for-8 record, including four wins over Exaggerator. But the tables were turned in the second leg of the Triple Crown on a sloppy track, and Exaggerator won by 3½ lengths with Cherry Wine second, a nose ahead of Nyquist.
Exaggerator, meanwhile, took a walk around the shedrow at his Pimlico stable on Monday, and trainer Keith Desormeaux said the colt could be back on the track Tuesday morning.
Desormeaux said plans are for Exaggerator to be shipped to Belmont on Sunday.
Others expected for the 1½-mile Belmont include Cherry Wine and fifth-place Preakness finisher Lani, as well as Sudenbreakingnews (fifth in the Derby), Destin (sixth, Derby), Brody’s Cause (seventh, Derby) and Governor Malibu, runner-up in the Peter Pan at Belmont on May 14.