Country House, the longshot who was awarded victory in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby following the disqualification of first-finishing Maximum Security, will not run in the Preakness Stakes on May 18 in Baltimore, ending any shot of a third Triple Crown in five years.
Trainer Bill Mott told the Daily Racing Form Tuesday that Country House had developed a cough and was “acting like he’s going to get sick.”
“It’s probably a little viral thing,” Mott told the horse racing journal. “Hopefully it doesn’t develop into anything serious. Usually, when something like this happens, a horse misses a couple weeks of training. He’s not seriously sick right now. But he’s showing indications that something is going on.”
The decision by Mott means that neither of the two horses at the center of the most bizarre Kentucky Derby finish in its 145-year history will compete in the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course. Country House is also the first Kentucky Derby winner not to race in the Preakness since Grindstone in 1996.
Grindstone, who was found to have bone chips in one of his knees, was the first Derby winner to be retired immediately after that race since Bubbling Over in 1926.
Maximum Security crossed the finish line at Churchill Downs in Louisville one and three-quarters lengths ahead of Country House. However, the race stewards ruled that Maximum Security had improperly impeded several horses and disqualified him.
Maximum Security owner Gary West said Monday that his horse would not run in the Preakness, telling The Associated Press there was “really no need, not having an opportunity to run for the Triple Crown, to run a horse back in two weeks.”
“The horse will be better off long term with the rest,” West added. “He ran a really good and a really hard race on Saturday.”
West announced that Maximum Security would skip the Preakness hours before the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission denied his appeal of the horse’s disqualification. West has said that such an outcome was expected, and he has vowed to file a lawsuit to overturn the stewards’ decision.
The Preakness is run two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, requiring a quick turnaround. The third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, will be June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
American Pharoah and Justify won Triple Crowns in 2015 and 2018, respectively. American Pharoah’s ended a 37-year run without a Triple Crown winner going back to Affirmed, who won all three races in 1978.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.