Baoma Corporation's Drefong, winner of the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 5, will miss the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Dec. 26 after spiking a temperature last week, trainer Bob Baffert said Dec. 21.
"He got a slight temp after his last work (on Dec. 7)," Baffert said Wednesday morning. "He came out of it real well but I've had a little bug going through my barn. It hit a few horses. He just had it slightly; it was enough to where I had to treat him immediately. So, unfortunately, he can't run. He's okay, though. He'll be fine."
Baffert added Drefong will likely now be pointed to the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) in March.
"That's the goal now," said the hall of fame trainer.
With Drefong out of the Malibu, graded stakes winner Mind Your Biscuits—who crossed the wire third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint but was elevated to second because of the disqualification of runner-up Masochistic—assumes the role of likely race favorite.
Despite his defection from the Malibu, Drefong is already a lock to be a finalist in the Eclipse Award balloting for champion male sprinter. The 3-year-old son of Gio Ponti was unbeaten in four starts this year and captured the Ketel One King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 27 prior to besting elders in the Breeders' Cup.
His strongest competition for year-end honors figures to come from former stablemate Lord Nelson , who recently retired to Spendthrift Farm after missing the Breeders' Cup Sprint due to an infection that developed when he suffered a small cut on his leg. Lord Nelson was also victorious in all four of his starts in 2016 including three grade I triumphs.
"It's going to be interesting to see how that goes," Baffert said of the potential Eclipse Award battle between his two trainees.