Derby winner Country House to miss Preakness along with Maximum Security


Country House #20, ridden by jockey Flavien Prat, War of Will #1, ridden by jockey Tyler Gaffalione , Maximum Security #7, ridden by jockey Luis Saez and Code of Honor #13, ridden by jockey John Velazquez fight for position in the final turn during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 04, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. Country House #20 was declared the winner after a stewards review disqualified Maximum Security #7. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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KENTUCKY — Kentucky Derby winner Country House will not run in the Preakness Stakes, trainer Bill Mott told the Daily Racing Form on Tuesday, meaning that there will be no Triple Crown winner this year.

According to the report, Mott said Country House has developed a cough, saying “it’s probably a little viral thing.”

“He’s acting like he’s going to get sick,” Mott said to the Daily Racing Form. “He’s off the training list, and if he’s off the training list he’s off the Preakness list.”

CNN has reached out to Mott for comment.

In an interview with CNN earlier Tuesday morning, Mott was noncommittal about his horse running the Preakness, saying at the time: “If he’s doing very well, we will. I don’t feel like we’ve got any pressure to go other than the fact that the Derby winner usually goes to the Preakness and people are looking forward to seeing him there. We’re going to monitor his progress in the next week and 10 days and then decide.”

The news comes just a day after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission denied an appeal from the owner of Maximum Security, the horse that made history by being disqualified from Saturday’s Kentucky Derby for a rules infraction.

Maximum Security, who led the Derby from wire to wire and crossed the finish line 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Country House, was disqualified for interference while turning for home. Officials decided that Maximum Security impacted the progress of War of Will, which in turn interfered with Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress. Country House was declared the winner. The stewards who made the ruling did not take questions, electing to read a prepared statement with the explanation.

Lexington, Kentucky, attorney D. Barry Stilz on Monday filed the appeal with the commission on behalf of owner Gary West.

In its denial letter, the commission said the stewards’ decision is not subject to appeal, because there is no right to appeal a disqualification under Kentucky law, also making Stilz’s request for a stay of the ruling pending the appeal into a moot point.

The law cited by the commission said the stewards are charged with determining “all objections and inquiries based on interference by a horse, improper course run by a horse, foul riding by a jockey, and all other matters occurring during and incident to the running of a race” as well as “the extent of disqualification, if any, of horses in a race for a foul committed during the race.”

According to the law, the stewards’ “[f]indings of fact and determination shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal.”

The notice of appeal had argued: “The Stewards’ acts in reviewing the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby were arbitrary and capricious and did not comply with applicable administrative regulations. Their determination to disqualify Maximum Security is not supported by substantial evidence.”

In addition to the appeal, Stilz requested “that all related purse monies be withheld and placed in escrow pending final determination of the matter,” according to a letter to Marc A. Guilfoil, the commission’s executive director.

Stilz also sought all materials related to the stewards’ disqualification determination, including their notes “and the recording of their nearly 22 minutes of deliberations; any written decision issued by the Stewards with respect to Maximum Security’s disqualification,” the letter said.

‘Shocked’ owner of Maximum Security pulls horse from Preakness

In an appearance Monday on Fox News, West said he expected the appeal to be denied.

“We are going to file a lawsuit in the appropriate jurisdiction,” West said.

West told NBC earlier on Monday that Maximum Security will not run in the Preakness Stakes, the next leg of racing’s Triple Crown.

“I think there is no Triple Crown on the line for us, and there is no reason to run a horse back in two weeks when you don’t have to,” Gary West said in the interview on the network’s “Today” show

It is the first time a Derby winner has been disqualified because of a foul on the track. In 1968, Dancer’s Image won but failed a drug test and was disqualified.

“I was a bit shocked and surprised that the stewards wrote a statement that was probably prepared by their lawyers and refused, literally refused, to take a single question from the media,” West said. “So they’ve been about as non-transparent about this whole thing as anything I have ever seen in my life.”

The Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, is May 18 in Baltimore.

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