Kentucky Derby winner Country House is not racing in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. The horse’s trainer, Bill Mott, said that the horse wasn’t able to run after he developed a cough.
“He’s off the training list and will miss the Preakness. He was coughing this morning so we had blood work done and got right on it. It does look like he’s harboring a virus, though he is eating and there is no fever. But that is an hour-by-hour thing,” Mott told BloodHorse.
The colt was put on a round of antibiotics.
Interestingly, other Derby leaders — Code of Honor and Tacitus, the second- and third-place finishers — are also not running in today’s race.
Here’s what you need to know:
Country House Originally Finished 2nd in the Derby But Was Awarded 1st Place After Maximum Security Disqualified
Country House had very long odds heading into the May 4 Kentucky Derby. However, the horse battled his way to the front of the pack and ended up crossing the finish line at Churchill Downs in second place. Shortly after the race, however, Country House was declared the winner; the first place horse, Maximum Security, was disqualified for interference.
“[Country House] was traveling well the entire race. Once I got him outside and I started to make my move, Maximum Security kind of drifted out and kind of turned us sideways,” winning jockey Flavien Prat told reporters after the race.
Those who bet on Country House ended up with quite a nice payout as he had 65-to-1 odds at post time.
Country House Is the 1st Derby Winner to Miss the Preakness Since 1996
It’s not common for a Kentucky Derby winner to miss the Preakness Stakes — these colts train and prepare for the three biggest horse races for several months and winning a Triple Crown is the ultimate goal — but it has happened.
Back in 1996, Grindstone won the Kentucky Derby but was unable to compete in the Preakness Stakes after he suffered a knee injury which was discovered within days of his Derby victory. The horse, who won the Louisiana Derby and was second in the Arkansas Derby that year, ended up being retired and didn’t race again.
Grindstone was the first horse to be retired right after winning the Kentucky Derby since Bubbling Over had the same fate in 1926.
Country House Has Been Ruled Out for the Belmont Stakes Next Month
While horse racing fans were hoping to see Country House compete in the 2019 Belmont Stakes next month, he’s already been ruled out of the race. Although he is said to be “responding well” to his current treatment, he remains in the care of the staff at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington.
“We sent him to the clinic to get thoroughly checked out. He’ll have a tracheal wash, they’ll make sure he’s being treated with the proper antibiotics, make sure whatever bacteria is in there is being properly dealt with. He seems to be responding well. It’s not an emergency. We just wanted to get him over there and get him examined,” Mott told the Paulick Report last week.