There won't be a Triple Crown winner in 2019.
Bill Mott, the trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Country House, said the horse will not race in the Preakness Stakes because he has become ill.
"He developed a little bit of a cough this morning," Mott told the Daily Racing Form by telephone. "His appetite is good. He doesn't have a fever. But he's coughing. 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."
Mott said the blood work showed Country House was harboring some sort of virus.
"Hopefully just rest and a little time is going to be what the doctor ordered," Mott told The Associated Press. "Other than that, he doesn't actually act sick. He's kind of a big, tough horse, but there's signs that things are not going in the right direction with him."
The 1 3/16-mile Preakness is May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Although shorter than the Kentucky Derby, the race requires a quick turnaround.
Because of how the Kentucky Derby went, Mott said he and those around Country House were not as disappointed by this as they would have been under normal circumstances.
"I guess it's been an unusual ride anyway," Mott said of his first Derby victory. "I don't think it hit any of us as hard as what it might have. I think we're grateful to have the win we had and hopefully he bounces back for some races later on."
Country House was declared the winner of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday after Maximum Security was disqualified for interference. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission denied an appeal filed by attorney D. Barry Stilz on behalf of Maximum Security owners Gary and Mary West on Monday. After that ruling, Gary West told the Associated Press that he plans to "file suit in whatever the appropriate court is."
Racing stewards disqualified Maximum Security and elevated Country House to the winner's circle following objections filed by two jockeys. Stewards determined Maximum Security impeded the paths of several horses in the race. Maximum Security was the first Derby winner disqualified for interference in the race's 145-year history.
In a statement, the Maryland Jockey Club and the Stronach Group that owns Pimlico said Country House not running "doesn't take away from the excitement" and that they anticipate more interest from owners and trainers to enter the race.
Mott said Country House is a possibility to run in the third jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 8. Keeping him out of the Preakness, though, was a no-brainer for the 65-year-old trainer.
"I've never liked training a horse that's given an indication that he's sick," Mott said. "We will monitor him, and he's off the training list."