Muth, the 8-5 morning-live favorite in the 149th Preakness Stakes, has been scratched from the middle jewel of the Triple Crown after the colt registered a fever late Tuesday night, trainer Bob Baffert said.

The Good Magic colt had a temperature of 103. According to the National Institutes of Health, a horse’s typical temperature is 99 to 101 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.”

With Muth out, Mystik Dan receives a boost in his bid to become the first horse since Justify in 2018 to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He now has the shortest odds in the field at 5-2.

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The two previously faced off in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, with Muth winning by 6 1/4 lengths. Another Preakness entrant, Just Steel, came with a surging drive in the stretch run to finish two lengths behind Muth in second place.

“It takes a lot out of the equation,” said Ray Bryner, the assistant trainer for Mystik Dan. “We don’t have to worry about him, so there’s eight horses now and we can kind of run our race and not worry about chasing the horse they call the favorite.”

Baffert will still saddle Imagination, with odds of 6-1, to attempt to build his record of Preakness Stakes victories to nine.

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 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 had just walked around the barn since being unloaded.

Word of Muth being scratched spread quickly through Pimlico and then by phone to Mystik Dan’s trainer, Kenny McPeek, who was scrambling to travel from Louisville, Kentucky, to Baltimore.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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