Nyquist pulled from Belmont Stakes due to health

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist was reportedly pulled from the Belmont Stakes Tuesday after the thoroughbred was found to have an elevated white blood cell count.

According to TMZ Sports, assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said it was better to play it safe and not push the three-year-old too soon.

On Monday, and two days after his first career loss at the Preakness, Nyquist developed a slight fever and was not transferred to Belmont Park as was initially planned.

Nyquist finished third behind Exaggerator in the Preakness on Saturday. 

The Belmon Stakes will be run on June 11 on Long Island with no chance of a Triple Crown.

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.

With the Associated Press