David Grening of the Daily Racing Form reports that Nyquist, the winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby, will miss the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, due to “high white blood cell count.” Grening quotes the horse’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, as saying:
“It’s like a family member being sick. We’re going to focus on getting him better and we look forward to a summer campaign.”
Grening went on to report about the horse’s health:
O’Neill said Sunday he wanted to run Nyquist in the Belmont and had planned to ship the colt to New York from Baltimore on Monday. But Monday morning, Nyquist was diagnosed with a “102-and-change” temperature. Though he was treated and the temperature returned to normal, blood work taken Monday revealed a high white-blood cell count.
Nyquist began his career last June with eight straight victories, with the eighth victory coming at this year’s Kentucky Derby. That streak was broken during the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, when O’Neill’s horse placed third behind Exaggerator and Cherry Wine.
The Belmont Stakes will be held for the 148th year on Saturday, June 11, with the race being held at 2:00 PM Pacific time.