Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist set to return to California

Nyquist, whose bid for a Triple Crown ended with a third-place finish in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 21, was scheduled to resume jogging at Pimlico on Thursday in advance of a flight to trainer Doug O'Neill's base at Santa Anita on Sunday.

The winner of the Kentucky Derby on May 7, Nyquist was declared out of the Belmont Stakes last week after he was found to have a high white blood cell count. O'Neill said on Wednesday that Nyquist has responded to treatment and will have light exercise before being flown to California.

"We gave him a few extra days to recover," O'Neill said. "The illness is behind him. He's off all antibiotics. The last blood work was good."

O'Neill said that race plans for the summer have not been finalized for Nyquist, who is owned by Paul and Zillah Reddam.

"We'll get him back Sunday and we'll have a better idea of where we're going," O'Neill said. "We won't talk about spots until we get a few works."

There are numerous options for Nyquist this summer, including leading stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park and Saratoga or races against older horses at Del Mar.

At Saratoga, the leading races for 3-year-olds are the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 30 and the $1.25 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 27. Monmouth Park's top race for 3-year-olds is the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 31.

There are no lucrative stakes for 3-year-olds on dirt at Del Mar. Potential races against older horses include the $200,000 San Diego Handicap on July 23 and the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 20.

The Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5 is a long-range goal for Nyquist.

Nyquist was beaten for the first time in his career when he finished third, 3½ lengths back, to Exaggerator in the Preakness. Nyquist was the champion 2-year-old male of 2015 and has won 8 of 9 starts for $5,119,200.