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Preakness favorite Muth comes down with fever, scratched from Triple Crown race

The absence of Bob Baffert's colt could help out Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan.
jockey Juan Hernandez ride Muth to victory
Muth, ridden by jockey Juan Hernandez, wins the Grade I, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes horse race at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., in October.Benoit Photo via AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Preakness favorite Muth has been ruled out of the race after spiking a fever, removing a horse trained by Bob Baffert and potentially giving Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan a clearer path through the second leg of the Triple Crown.

The Maryland Jockey Club announced Muth’s status change Wednesday morning, roughly 12 hours after the horse arrived at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Baffert said Muth’s temperature reached 103 degrees and the camp had no choice but to scratch him. A horse's body temperature should be at or less than 101.5 degrees.

“We are sick about this. The horse had been doing really well,” Baffert said. “But we have to do what’s right by the horse.”

Muth was one of two horses entered for Baffert, a Hall of Famer and two-time winner of the Triple Crown who is still expected to saddle Imagination as part of what’s now a field of eight.

Baffert has won the Preakness a record eight times, including last year with National Treasure.

Baffert was not expected to fly in until Thursday, though assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes accompanied the horses on their flight to Newark, New Jersey, and the drive down to Maryland.

Barnes said little outside their stalls earlier Wednesday other than that Muth and Imagination had not been out to the track yet and just walked around the barn since being unloaded.