Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott announced on Tuesday that Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Country House will not head to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes (G1) on May 18.
“He developed a little bit of a cough this morning,” Mott said via by telephone according to David Grenig of the Daily Racing Form. “He appetite is good. He doesn’t have a fever. But he’s coughing. We drew blood. He’s acting like he’s going to get sick. He’s off the training list, and if he’s off the training list he’s off the Preakness list.”
Country House was the beneficiary of the disqualification of Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first but veered in and interfered with War of Will, starting a chain reaction that also affected Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress.
After a 22-minute delay, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th, behind the finish of the affected horses.
It was the first disqualification of the winner of the Kentucky Derby for interference in the 145-year history of the race.
Country House returned $132.40, the second biggest price in the history of the Kentucky Derby. Only Donerail, who paid $184.90 in 1913.
Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security appealed to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), but his appeal of the Churchill Downs stewards’ decision was denied.
2019 Kentucky Derby Replay
West may not be done and may appeal in federal court.
In addition to Maximum Security and Country House, trainer Shug McGaughey announced this morning that Code of Honor, who was placed second in the Kentucky Derby will also miss the Preakness. His target likely will be the Dwyer Stakes (G3) at a mile at Belmont Park on July 7.
For the latest Preakness Stakes odds check out USRacing.
The defections leave the Preakness Stakes wide open. Among the favorites at this point likely will be War of Will, Improbable and possibly Tacitus, who is trained by Mott who seemed unlikely to run in the Preakness. However, with Country House now out, Mott could change his mind.