Kentucky Derby champ Country House will not run in the Preakness Stakes

There will be no Triple Crown horse in 2019, now that the controversial winner has pulled out of the May 18 race due to a cough.

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By David K. Li

There will be no Triple Crown winner this year, controversial or otherwise.

Kentucky Derby champ Country House, awarded the garland of roses after on-track winner Maximum Security was disqualified, has come down with a cough and will not run in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 18, officials said Tuesday.

"He will not be racing in the Preakness ... that’s what we’ve been told," Pimlico spokesman David Joseph told NBC News.

Hours earlier, the colt's trainer, Bill Mott, told the Daily Racing Form that the Derby winner was feeling under the weather and wouldn't be able to adequately prepare for the Preakness.

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"He developed a little bit of a cough this morning," Mott told the industry publication. "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 he doesn't believe Country House has any serious condition.

"It's probably a little viral thing," Mott said. "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."

The Preakness is the second jewel of thoroughbred horse racing's three big races: The Kentucky Derby in Louisville, the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes in New York.

Country House was declared the Derby winner after Churchill Downs stewards ruled that Maximum Security drifted out from the rail and unfairly impeded other horses in Saturday's race.

Country House was a 65-to-1 long shot, meaning a $2 bet on him paid $132.40.

Saturday's stunning ruling drew comparisons to the 2016 presidential election, the famed "La La Land'" Oscars flub and the New Orleans Saints' controversial loss in the NFC title game in January.

There have been two Triple Crown winners in the past four years, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. Before American Pharoah, the last Triple Crown winner had been Affirmed in 1978.