Nyquist’s team today announced that Nyquist, who emerged from Saturday’s Preakness with a fever, will not be running in the Belmont Stakes, spoiling what would have been a possible historic showdown between the horse and his rival, Exaggerator.
Blood tests showed an elevated white blood cell count, which prompted the scratching of the horse from the race. Instead, the colt will recuperate at Pimlico, where he has been since the Preakness.
The announcement immediately drew controversy among horse racing fans, who either (a) used the fever as an excuse for why he didn’t win the Preakness; or (b) theorized that Team Nyquist was using the fever as an excuse to skip the long, grueling Belmont Stakes, which some doubted Nyquist could handle.
In any event, it’s Exaggerator’s race to lose now, and if successful he would become the first horse to win the Preakness and Belmont since Afleet Alex in 2005.