May 24, 2016 / 11:42 PM / 2 years ago

Ailing Nyquist to miss Belmont Stakes

(Reuters) - Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist will miss next month’s Belmont Stakes, the final leg of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown series for 3-year-olds, because of a high white cell count, his trainers said on Tuesday.

May 18, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist receives a bath after a training session for the 141st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nyquist, whose bid for the Triple Crown ended when he finished third in the Preakness States on Saturday after starting as race favorite, succumbed to a fever on Monday and has since been recovering at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

“He’s out because of sickness,” Nyquist trainer Doug O‘Neill told reporters after consulting with his assistant Jack Sisterson.

Though Nyquist appeared to be improving on Tuesday morning, the decision was taken to withdraw the colt from the June 11 Belmont Stakes in New York following the results of his latest blood work.

“There was a slightly elevated white count and we took his temperature again and that was slightly elevated,” said Sisterson.

”So I spoke to Doug and Doug wants to do what’s best for Nyquist and get him back 100 percent health-wise here at Pimlico and then fly him back to California.

“We’re not sure exactly the day we will do that but Nyquist will tell us when he’s ready.”

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue

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