Country House, elevated to a Kentucky Derby victory last May in a controversial decision at Churchill Downs, has retired.
According to a statement distributed Friday by Blackwood Stables and published by The Thoroughbred Daily News, the 4-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky overcame a bout of laminitis stemming from "proximal suspensory ligament desmitis."
The condition developed after a "routine lameness examination" in June and re-admittance to the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in early July due to a leg infection.
“Over the course of the next two weeks, the team at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital got the infection under control, but as a result of his non-weight bearing right front foot, he developed laminitis in his left front foot," the statement reads. "He was released on July 15 and returned to Blackwood for stall rest.
"Over the coming months, Dr. Scott Morrison was able to stabilize the foot and make Country House more comfortable. He is currently on turn out and we anticipate that he will make a full recovery, but because of the laminitis and the subsequent steps taken to save his life, he will never race again.
"Over the past seven months, our primary focus has solely been on Country House and his health. With the Derby right around the corner and his health much improved, we felt it was an appropriate time to make this announcement. We appreciate everyone’s patience during this difficult time."
Country House won two of seven starts and placed in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Risen Star Stakes (G2) while running for the connections of Mrs. J. V. Shields, wife of the late breeder J.V. Shields; Guiness McFadden; and LNJ Foxwoods. He was trained by Bill Mott.
The connections of Maximum Security, first across the wire before disqualified in the Derby, continue to fight the decision in a Kentucky court. Maximum Security's DQ was the first in race history due to interference on the racetrack.
The 65-1 shot Country House, second by 1 3/4 lengths was placed first after a lengthy look at Maximum Security's veer out into rivals near the 5/16 pole.
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