Preakness Stakes favorite and Bob Baffert-trained horse ruled out after spiking a fever

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Mystik Dan’s chances of winning the second leg of the Triple Crown are looking better after it was announced on Wednesday that Preakness favorite Muth was ruled out of the upcoming race due to a fever. 

The Bob Baffert-trained horse spiked a “high fever,” and as a result, Zedan Racing Stables announced Muth was scratched from the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. 

Muth is seen on the track in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, on Nov. 1, 2023. (Horsephotos/Getty Images)

“We are incredibly disappointed that Muth won’t be able to run in the Preakness due to high fever,” the group said in a statement. 

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“Based on the recommendation of our trainer, we are giving priority to the horse’s long-term health and keeping him from this race. We expect Muth to fully recover soon.”

Baffert, who was not eligible to enter a horse at the Kentucky Derby because of his ban at Churchill Downs, will still be at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore this weekend with Imagination, who is also owned by Zedan Racing Stables.

Muth opened as the 8-5 favorite, ahead of Mystik Dan at 5-2. Baffert said the horse was ruled out after reaching a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit roughly 12 hours after arriving at the racecourse.

Trainer Bob Baffert

Trainer Bob Baffert looks on after winning the Sir Barton Stakes with jockey John Velazquez and horse Arabian Lion ahead of the 148th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 20, 2023. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MYSTIK DAN TO RUN IN PREAKNESS, KEEPING TRIPLE CROWN ALIVE

“It’s disappointing because we were really looking forward to it. He could be fine tomorrow,” Baffert said Wednesday, via journalist Tim Wilkin. “We jumped on this right away. You’ve got to take care of the horse. We treat him and you have to forget about the race.” 

Baffert holds the record for the most wins at the Preakness, with last year’s victory marking his eighth. Muth previously beat this year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Mystik Dan, at the Arkansas Derby in March. 

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Mystik Dan trainer Kenny McPeek told The Associated Press that the 3-year-old colt will be ready to go regardless. 

Mystik Dan at the Kentucky Derby

Mystik Dan, ridden by Brian J. Hernandez, Jr., wins the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 4.  (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“It’s a fragile game: It can happen to any of them,” McPeek said of Wednesday’s news. “I guess it puts added pressure on us, but he’s ready.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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