The muddy conditions of the 2016 Preakness Stakes worked against Nyquist in a big way, and certainly helped contribute to his first career loss. Competing in the wet weather may have also had another, more troubling, result. Nyquist developed a fever following the race and is currently being tended to by his trainers.
“I think he has some sort of virus we need to get under control,” remarked Dennis O’Neill, an assistant trainer to Nyquist. “He ate well, but his temperature was 102 so we decided not to ship. We drew some blood and will know more tomorrow.”
Plans were originally set to move the Reddam Racing product to Belmont Park, a mere 305 miles up north, early this week. The journey typically takes anywhere between 5-7 hours and isn’t anything to worry about. But travel of any type can trigger some strange symptoms. Any inclination to move the three-year old colt from his stable at Pimlico has been shelved since Nyquist developed a fever.
Right now, “no news is good news” and the thoroughbred racing world will be waiting anxiously for any updates about the horse’s health. Fevers have derailed many championship bids such as Songbird at this year’s Kentucky Oaks and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. The beloved Beholder was also held out of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic due to a fever.
Every horse recovers from these things differently, and some faster than others. However, it’s worth noting that Nqyuist’s value still won’t be questioned down the line when it comes to breeding or racing. There’s simply no sense in pushing him to compete in the Belmont Stakes on June 11th if he’s not healthy enough to do so. The arduous 1 1/2 mile race is perhaps the most difficult leg of the Triple Crown.
Obviously, it’s also one of the more exciting. Though Nyquist developed a fever, the intention is to run him in the Belmont Stakes and continue the feud with Exaggerator. The pair have now run against one another on five occasions with Nyquist firmly holding the advantage. Surely, he will want revenge at the Belmont if he can get there.
With the Belmont Stakes running on June 11th, there’s more than enough time for Nyquist to rest and recover and even make a last minute trip to get from Maryland to New York. Trainer Doug O’Neill has been adamant about keeping him on a shortened work regiment to avoid setbacks such as these. He won’t chance his health for immediate gains, when the long term projections of Nyquist remain so promising.