05/24/2016 10:10AM

Nyquist out of Belmont with high white cell count

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Michael Amoruso
Nyquist probably won't return to the races until later this summer, in the Jim Dandy or Travers at Saratoga.

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist will miss the Belmont Stakes on June 11 due to an illness, trainer Doug O’Neill told Daily Racing Form Tuesday morning.

O’Neill said that Nyquist has an elevated white blood-cell count and that his temperature, after returning to normal Monday afternoon, was up to 101.2 degrees mid-morning Tuesday. His normal temperature is 100.3, O’Neill said.

O’Neill said that Nyquist would be put on stronger antibiotics to treat the illness and that he would return to California when he’s healthy.

“We’re going to put him on stronger antibiotics, get him right, get him back to California and let him relax and recover from the trip,” O’Neill said by phone.

The defection of Nyquist means there will not be a rubber match with Preakness winner Exaggerator in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. Nyquist, the undefeated 2-year-old champion of 2015, beat Exaggerator by 1 1/4 lengths in the Kentucky Derby on May 7. Exaggerator turned the tables on Nyquist in the Preakness, winning by 3 1/2 lengths while Nyquist was nosed out for second by Cherry Wine.

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.

“It is a bummer,” O’Neill said. “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.”

O’Neill said he is not sure where or when Nyquist would return, but he did say he hoped the horse could run this summer at Saratoga, in either the Jim Dandy on July 30 or the Travers on Aug. 27.

Joey Dowden More than 1 year ago
I'm retired and would like to stup. 
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
In my opinion the reason horses no longer are equipped to run classic distances is only partly because of breeding. I know everybody jumps on the same bandwagon without really looking at the whole picture so breeding is on everybody's lost .while overlooking the other factors like trainers nd lasix.  Let's start with trainers .most today are not even real horsemen very few are capable or even attempt to get a horse fit enough to to run long. It is simply much easier to gallop and have a 4f work every 7 days or so .then give the horse some pain medication and lasix and enter a 6f race .worst case the horse gets beat 5 or 6 lengths and you tell the owner we will get them next time. In a route race you might get beat 40 lengths if not well prepared.thats hard to explain to an owner. And then there's lasix a diuretic that removes liquid from a horses system .so how do you then rehydrate a horse while keeping him in full training for another long race were he will need to be very fit and be dehydrated again. Can't be done easily .you would need long periods between races .peoblem is classic distance horses need to be raced into full fitness .this is what makes the triple crown the only truly interesting racing in the USA. It's why some big name needle trainers don't do well in the triple crown . Beholder and American Pharoah have shown that a horse breed to be a sprinter miler can go long. So it stands to reason that others with much more stout pedigrees could also be trained to go even longer if they to have talent. But chances are they will fall into the hands of a trainers that can't be bothered with detail and difficult and time consuming training like interval training and having a horse out of the stable for more than 15 minutes. I guess if you train 250 horses time is money. And having a horse out on the track for 45 minutes takes up too much staff and time.
Bill Keating More than 1 year ago
I don't say that the Belmont is too long because I think that it's too taxing on the horses. I make it because the ability to stay a mile and a half has become increasingly unimportant as a test of a champion horse.. Speed has become a much more desirable trait.

And I don't believe that three races in five weeks is too taxing on a horse. Look up the 1978 campaign of Seattle Slew. Nine days after losing the Paterson by a neck, he beat 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup, two weeks later he defeated California Hall of Famer Exceller in the Woodward, and just another two weeks later he faced both Hall of Famers in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, one of racing's most memorable races.
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
A) Seattle Slew raced 40 years ago and the TB breed has changed
B) The mile and a half distance IS important in the rest of the world ; just not in America, mainly because of the influence of the quarterhorse trainers.
David Craighead More than 1 year ago
a perspective to share is that speculation is a dangerous thing to ponder but when one no not the facts to back up claims of that perception than it's just a comment made out of blindness. or is it just sore loose!
Bill Keating More than 1 year ago
I love tradition, but the one and a half mile distance of the Belmont has become anachronistic. No horse will ever be asked to run that distance again. Being able to get the mile and a half distance is no longer of importance to breeders. Trainers don't know if their horse can get the distance.

What to do? Excuse me while I duck from all that fruit being thrown at me. Probably the most prestigious race for older horses run at Belmont is the Met Mile. It is a flat mile run around one wide turn. The importance of the trip is lessened with no run to the first turn. It tests both speed and endurance. Breeders love to see this combination.


Scott More than 1 year ago
Turf horses "run" longer all the time.  I've always said the Derby is by far the toughest race a horse will ever run.  The Belmont is usually a walk in the Park  (at least the first half mile).  The only tough thing about this 12F race for a TC Contender is it's their 3rd race in 5 weeks...now there's something these horses will never be asked to do again in their lifetime. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does anyone know why Gary Stevens,
is riding at Churchill Downs and not Santa Anita, right now? The real reason not haters??
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Three shock wave therapy horses, i'll have another, firing line and nyquist.  Derby results...two wins and a second to pharoah.  All three havent run after the preakness.
Robert More than 1 year ago
The Belmont is only linked to the triple crown if a horse takes the first two.  A wonderful purse to win but it's disassociated now with test of champions 3 races in 5 weeks.  To the player it's just another betting race. Should be a huge field taking a shot now 
Mark Howell More than 1 year ago
O.K.  Mr.O'Neill  can  run  the horse nine times  previously,  use  extremely  high  doses  of  Lasix,  and  now  suddenly  the  horse  has  high  fevers  and  an elevated white  count.  This  is a simple fact of true  regulation  at  New York  tracks  in  which  Mr.  O'Neill  can  not  pass.
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
Grow up. No one milkshakes anymore. The cheats are about blood doping and last year's champ proved it can be done without detection. Even in NY.
Vick Harris More than 1 year ago
I AGREE WITH EPSTEIN YOULL PROB SEE NYQUIST RUN ONE MORE TIME AND RETIRE TO STUD THE GAME HAS CHANGE LETS LOOK FOR A MOMENT AT THE GREAT SPECTACULAR BID HE RAN 13 MORE TIMES AFTER THE BELMONT WINNING 12 and 1 SECOND  MOSTLY GRADE 1S  HOW BOUT THE GREAT AFFIRMED -RACED 13 MORE TIMES AFTER BELMONT WINNING GRADED STAKES OVER OLDER HORSES SMH. MAYBE ONE MORE THE GREAT SEATTLE SLEW RACE 8 MORE TIMES AFTER THE BEL DEFEATING OLDER HORSES LIKE A TRUE CHAMPION  NOTICE I PUT THE WORD GREAT B4 THESE HORSES THATS BC THEY KEPT RACING ALIVE WITH THEIR DOMINANCE I CANT EVEN PUT AMERICAN PHARAOH WITH THESE ELITE BUNCH YES HE WON THE TC BUT WHAT HE DID AFTER THAT BEAT A WEEK BUNCH OF OLD PLODDERS IN THE B READERS CUP COME ON MAN  IN THE LAST DECADE THE ONLY ONE THAT DESERVES THE WORD GREAT IN THE SAME SENTENCE IS THE ONE THEY CALL ZENYATA   SO I SAY TO NYQUIST N AP YOU SHUDDA HAVE STAYED AROUND ALITTLE BIT TO GET RECOGNIZED AS A TRUE CHAMP  
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
yawn
Robert More than 1 year ago
Not about greatness anymore. It's about the stud dollars. Why race them ? 
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago

If California Chrome races a few more times and wins the BC Classic as well as the 12million dollar Stronach Cup?? You may have to mention him as great...some already do.

Also what of horses like Wise Dan, ran until 7yo ( yes he was a gelding) Goldikova, ( 3 time breeders cup winner) to mention a few...I consider them great..just my opinion

gradeonewinner More than 1 year ago
i think CURLIN WAS A GREAT HORSE
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
true that