Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Flavien Prat aboard Country House (20)
Country House, the winner of the Kentucky Derby in controversial fashion, will sit out the Preakness Stakes, as Daily Racing Forum first reported. The horse has “a little bit of a cough,” according to his trainer Bill Mott.
Before the news broke, initial odds from US Racing made Country House the second favorite in the race at 3-1 odds, behind only Code of Honor (5-2).
The horse became the second-biggest longshot winner in the history the Derby after stewards overturned Maximum Security’s win for impeding other horses’ progress.
This marks the first time since 1996 that the Derby winner will not participate in the Preakness.
Meanwhile, Maximum Security’s owner, Gary West, told the Today Show Monday morning that his horse will also not participate in the Preakness after the ruling.
“There’s no Triple Crown on the line for us and no reason to run a horse back in two weeks when you don’t have to,” West said on the Today Show.
After a 37-year Triple Crown drought, there have been two Triple Crown winners in the past four years — American Pharoah (2016) and Justify (2018).
Not having a Triple Crown on the line could be a blow to Preakness broadcaster NBC. Saturday’s broadcast of the Derby peaked in the post-race coverage of the decision that made Country House the winner.
NBC’s coverage averaged 16.5 million viewers, which tied it with the 2010 and 2017 races for the best numbers for the race since NBC started broadcasting it in 2001.
The decision to overturn Maximum Security’s victory cost bettors at least $42 million in winning wagers, according to Ed DeRosa from TwinSpires, the online wagering service for Churchill Downs.
One Ohio woman stood to profit $186,000 off Maximum Security’s win, thanks to a promotion from Rocket Mortgage, but she left with nothing after the stewards’ ruling.
Stay tuned for more from this developing story.