Three Kentucky Derby starters aim for Preakness after Country House defects

May 07, 2019 Vance Hanson/

Three of the 19 starters in last Saturday's Kentucky Derby (G1) are expected to contest the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Preakness (G1) at Pimlico, on May 18, but the list does not include Derby winner Country House, who was withdrawn from Preakness consideration Tuesday after developing a cough.

The last time a Kentucky Derby winner did not race in the Preakness was in 1996, when Grindstone exited the Derby with a career-ending injury.

With Daily Racing Form also reporting Tuesday that Derby runner-up Code of Honor would not race again until July at the earliest, only Improbable, War of Will, and Bodexpress among Derby participants will face the starter at 'Old Hilltop.'

Improbable was placed fourth in the Kentucky Derby as the 4-1 favorite following the disqualification of first-place finisher Maximum Security. War of Will was placed seventh after encountering interference that led to the disqualification of Maximum Security, while the maiden Bodexpress was placed 13th in what was his sixth career start.

Improbable is trained by Bob Baffert, who has won 15 Triple Crown events, including seven Preaknesses. Baffert conditioned two Triple Crown winners in recent years, American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).

The so-called 'new shooters' aiming for the Preakness include Alwaysmining, Anothertwistafate, Bourbon War, Laughing Fox, Mr. Money, Owendale, and Signalman. Alwaysmining ($125,000 Federico Tesio), Anothertwistafate ($100,000 El Camino Real Derby), and Laughing Fox ($300,000 Oaklawn Invitational) all won 'Win & You're In' qualifiers for the Preakness. Owendale previously captured the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, while Mr. Money won the Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

In that past fifty years, horses that won Preakness after not racing in the Kentucky Derby include Bee Bee Bee (1972), Codex (1980), Aloma's Ruler (1982), Deputed Testamony (1983), Red Bullet (2000), Bernardini (2006), Rachel Alexandra (2009), and Cloud Computing (2017).

Click here to learn more about this year's Preakness contenders.

  • Ticket Info

    Sign up for race updates and more