Kentucky Derby winner Country House is not racing in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. The horse, which originally finished in second place but was declared the winner due to a disqualification, has not been retired from horse racing. Rather, his trainers have given him some extra time to recover after he fell ill following his victory at Churchill Downs.
According to Country House’s trainer, Bill Mott, the Derby winner is already back on the track and is getting ready to race again. Barring any further illness, Country House is expected to compete in the 2019 Travers Stakes in August.
Although Country House won’t be racing in the Belmont, the Mott-trained Tacitus will be hitting the dirt track this evening. The Belmont is the longest race of the three Triple Crown races.
The post time for the 151st Belmont Stakes is approximately 6:38 p.m. Eastern. You can watch the race live on NBC.
Here’s what you need to know:
Country House Didn’t Race in the Preakness Stakes Due to Illness
Ahead of the Preakness Stakes, Mott said that Country House 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 but wasn’t well enough to race in the Preakness.
Country House was the first Kentucky Derby winner to miss the Preakness since 1996. That year, Grindstone won the Derby but was unable to compete in the Preakness Stakes after he suffered a knee injury.
County House Is Preparing to Race at Saratoga
Country House has made a complete recovery from his illness and has already been back on the track, getting his hooves ready for an upcoming race.
“Country House is back on the track at Churchill. He’s jogging. He’s doing fine,” Mott told the New York Racing Association Press Office at the end of last month.
The Travers Stakes is set to take place on August 24. Saratoga’s Midsummer Derby has a purse of 1.25 million. Depending on how Country House fares in Saratoga, horse racing fans could see him in additional races, well into 2020.
The 2018 Travers Stakes was won by Catholic Boy, a horse trained by Jonathan Thomas.