Derby Long-Shot Winner Country House Pulled from Preakness
Kentucky Derby winner Country House won’t be making a run at the Triple Crown, with the horse being withdrawn Tuesday from the Preakness Stakes due to an illness, according The Daily Racing Form.
Country House developed a cough Tuesday morning, prompting trainer Bill Mott to withdraw the colt from the Preakness on May 18 at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The absence of Country House in the Preakness is the first time the Kentucky Derby winner missed the second leg of the Triple Crown since 1996 when Grindstone sat out due to a knee injury.
"His appetite is good. He doesn't have a fever. But he's coughing,” Mott told the Daily Racing Form. “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.
"It's probably a little viral thing. 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."
Maximum Security, Code of Honor Also Skip Preakness
Joining Country House in skipping the Preakness will be Maximum Security, who had the Kentucky Derby wire-to-wire, and Code of Honor, who was moved to second in the Kentucky Derby following Maximum Security’s disqualification.
Maximum Security’s trainer Jason Servis announced that decision on Monday, stating he did not want to run the thoroughbred twice in a two-week span. Code of Honor is out for undisclosed reasons.
With those two horses sidelined, Improbable became the new Preakness betting favorite with Betfair. Improbable finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, and is one of just three horses of the 10 entered in the Preakness that also competed in the Kentucky Derby.
The others are War of Will (seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby) and Bodexpress (13th).
Controversy Won’t Rain on Pimlico
Initially, Maximum Security was declared the winner only for stewards to immediately review the final stretch and determine he had impeded other horses by drifting to his right coming out of Turn 4 and disqualified Maximum Security.
That decision gave the victory to Country House, a 65/1 longshot that had finished runner-up to Maximum Security, whose owners appeal to overturn the decision was denied on Monday. Country House was the biggest long shot to win the Kentucky Derby since Donerail at 91-1 won it in 1913.
The exclusion of Maximum Security marked the first time a winning horse had stripped of a win on-site in the Kentucky Derby’s 145-year history. The only other disqualification in the prestigious race occurred in 1968 when the apparent winner, Dancer’s Image, had his victory taken away when traces of phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug, were found in his system following a mandatory post-race drug test.
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