The biggest news coming out of thoroughbred racing this week is the loss of Nyquist on the Triple Crown circuit. The Reddam Racing champion has come down with a low grade fever, and trainer Doug O’Neill has removed him from consideration for the final leg of the classics series, cutting the Belmont Stakes field down by at least viable contender.
“He is officially out,” the trainer stated matter of factly. “Right about the time we got his blood work back this morning, which showed an elevated white blood count, his temperature went back up. We just have to get strong with the antibiotics and get him right. He’s under the weather now, which we all get once in a while. Thank God it’s nothing leg-related. We’ll live to fight another day.”
The rest of the Belmont Stakes field is likely to feature just three entrants from the Preakness Stakes. Exaggerator and Cherry Wine, who finished in the top two positions, are slated as probable. The certifiably insane and awesome Lani out of Japan is also scheduled to run in the Belmont after a 5th place finish at Pimlico last weekend. I love that weird horse.
Four runners from the Kentucky Derby are also likely for the Belmont Stakes field after skipping out on the Preakness Stakes. Coincidentally, these are also the horses that finished 5th thru 8 at Churchill Downs a few weeks ago. These include Suddenbreakingnews, Destin, Brody’s Cause and Mo Tom who placed just out of the top-four in that order.
While many other new shooters will probably declare for the Test of the Champion, only one has been announced so far. Governor Malibu enters the fray with a record of 2-3-1 in six races. He recently placed second at the Peter Pan Stakes, and holds a lone stakes victory from the Gander Stakes. The Christopher Clement trainee likely won’t have much support at the window compared to rest of the Belmont Stakes field.