Nyquist ruled out of Travers, still targeting BC Classic

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August 7th, 2016

Kentucky Derby (G1) champion Nyquist, who went from unbeaten to losing his past two in a row, will swerve the August 27 Travers (G1), Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman reported Sunday.

A tiring third in the May 21 Preakness (G1) and fourth in last Sunday’s Haskell Invitational (G1), the Doug O’Neill trainee will now go on a swimming holiday at San Luis Rey Downs.

O’Neill told Privman that Nyquist is growing at the moment, so he doesn’t want to press him back into action too soon.

“He's shot up a couple inches, so we're going to take it easy with him right now,” O'Neill said. “He came out of the Haskell tired, but as free and loose as he's ever been. We just don't want to put a saddle and rider on him while he's going through this growth spurt.”

Nyquist still has the November 5 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita on his agenda, with O’Neill eyeing the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx on September 24 as his prep.

If Nyquist can return to peak form in time, he’ll get an opportunity to respond to archrival Exaggerator, who took over the mantle of divisional leadership by winning both the Preakness and Haskell. If Nyquist doesn’t make satisfactory progress and misses more time, he’ll have to root against Exaggerator – and for some chaotic results. Even then, depending upon how Exaggerator fares, Eclipse voters may well believe he’s done enough to surpass Nyquist for the three-year-old male title.

Photo courtesy Churchill Downs/Coady Photography