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Belmont Stakes 2016: Nyquist forced out of Triple Crown's third race with a fever

The return of a high white blood cell count will force Nyquist out of the Belmont.

After losing in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, Nyquist will not run in the Belmont Stakes a little less than three weeks from now, the Daily Racing Form reports. Nyquist's trainer, Doug O'Neill, said Nyquist is battling a high white blood cell count and a fever about one degree above normal.

"We're going to put him on stronger antibiotics, get him right, get him back to California and let him relax and recover from the trip," O'Neill told DRF on Tuesday.

Nyquist had entered the Preakness a perfect 8-for-8 for his career, but finished in third, 3-1/2 lengths behind winner Exaggerator on a muddy track. That ended hope of back-to-back Triple Crown winners after American Pharoah earned the award in 2015. However, the possibility of another high-stakes race between Exaggerator and Nyquist remained.

That changed Monday when Nyquist was reported to have a fever "102 degrees and change," according to O'Neill. Caution seems the best choice in a situation like that.

This likely isn't the end of Nyquist's racing career, though he already has a contract for stud service inked. O'Neill told DRF they will try to race at Saratoga in July or August. The Breeders' Cup will be run in early November, as well.

As for Exaggerator, the colt trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by Kent Desormeaux is on track to run in the Belmont, to be held June 11 in New York.

In odds released Tuesday afternoon by Bovada, Exaggerator is the favorite at 11-10, followed by Suddenbreakingnews at 13-2, with both Stradivari and Cherry Wine at 15-2.