Trainer Doug O’Neill announced on Tuesday morning that Kentucky Derby (G1) champ Nyquist will not run in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1), leaving Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Exaggerator the heavy favorite.
Nyquist spiked a fever after his first defeat in the Preakness, and by Tuesday morning O’Neill announced the colt had an elevated white blood cell count and would not race in the third jewel of the Triple Crown.
The colt is still stabled at Pimlico and will be shipped back to Southern California later this week, and O’Neill has no race in mind for the colt at this time.
“We’re not looking at anything yet,” O’Neill told Bloodhorse. “Let’s get him right first. It’s hard when you circle a date and they’re not right. We’ll do that, get a couple of works in him, and then set a target.”
With Nyquist out Exaggerator’s price has dropped to 11-10 at Bovada. The racebook has nine horses listed as possible for the Belmont, but with the defection of Nyquist that number could grow over the next few weeks.
Lani is the only other horse that will compete in all three jewels of the Triple Crown. The Japanese colt was ninth in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness Stakes.
Suddenbreakingnews, Destin, Brody’s Cause and Creator are likely to make the trip to New York. Each ran in the Run for the Roses and skipped the Preakness.
Cherry Wine, who did not get into the Derby field from the also-eligible list made a good late rally to finish second in the Preakness, beating Nyquist by a nose. The colt is the co-second choice at Bovada for the Belmont Stakes at 15-2.
Stradivari, who made his stakes debut in the Preakness where he checked in fourth is listed at 15-2 at Bovada in early Belmont betting.
While there is no Triple Crown hanging in the balance and no showdown between the Derby and Preakness winner, it is still going to be an exciting week in New York.
The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from Thursday June 7 to Saturday June 9 features 19 stakes races over the three days, eight on Saturday.
There are five Grade 1 races in addition to the Belmont Stakes on Saturday —the $1 million Ogden Phipps, $1 million Woodford Reserve Manhattan, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap, $700,000 Just a Game and the $700,000 Acorn.
Latest Belmont Stakes Odds via Bovada:
Cherry Wine 15-2
Brody’s Cause 12-1
Belmont Stakes Racing Festival June 7-9 $29.95
Get Michael’s full card reports for ALL three days of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from Thursday June 9 to Saturday June 11! 19 stakes and over $10 million in purses including the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes!