(AP Sports Writer/Stepen Whyno) After being declared the winner of the Kentucky Derby by disqualification, Country House will not run in the Preakness, ending any chance this year at another Triple Crown.
Assistant trainer Riley Mott confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the long shot winner of horse racing's biggest event is no longer being considered to run in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Country House was elevated to the winner's circle at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday after Maximum Security was disqualified for impeding other horses.
Country House's absence at the Preakness means there won't be a third Triple Crown winner in five years. Bob Baffert-trained Justify and American Pharoah have each won it since 2015.
The Stonach Group, the company that owns the Preakness Stakes and operates Pimlico Race Track, said they remain excited about the field of horses competing in race, despite the absence of the Derby winner and Maximum Security, the presumed Derby winner prior to a disqualification was ruled.
"While the connections of Kentucky Derby winner Country House have chosen not to run in this year’s Preakness, the first time since 1996 a Derby winner has not competed in the Preakness, it doesn’t take away from the excitement and thrill of this legendary event," the Stonach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club announced in a joint statement. "We anticipate an outstanding group of horses who will race in this year’s Preakness Stakes, and we anticipate there will be more interest from owners and trainers, who have until Wednesday, May 15 to make a final decision on whether to race."
The Daily Racing Form was first to report that Country House was not running in the Preakness, citing trainer Bill Mott, who said the horse developed a cough and was "acting like he's going to get sick." Riley Mott, Bill Mott's son, did not provide details to the AP about any possible illness.
Country Horse is the first Kentucky Derby winner not to enter 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.
Country House joins Maximum Security in skipping the Preakness.
The 1 3/16-mile Preakness is May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Though shorter than the Kentucky Derby, the race requires a quick turnaround. Maximum Security owner Gary West didn't want to burden his colt with the Triple Crown off the table.
West on Monday appealed the decision to disqualify the horse from the Derby, which was quickly rejected by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission because the stewards' decision isn't subject to appeal.
Country House was 65-1 to win the Derby, the second-longest odds in the 145-year history of the race. It was the first time the horse who crossed the finish line first was not declared the winner.
The third jewel of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 8.