Mrs. J. V. Shields Jr., E. J. M. McFadden Jr. and LNJ Foxwoods’ Country House finished third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) most recently to earn his spot in the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs. The chestnut colt previously finished second in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) and fourth in the Louisiana Derby (G2), as he has amassed 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Trained by Bill Mott, Country House was bred in the Bluegrass State by J. V. Shields Jr. and is by champion sire Lookin at Lucky, who finished sixth as the favorite in the 2010 Kentucky Derby. He has sired at least 42 stakes winners from six crops to date, notably champions Accelerate and Wow Cat.
Country House’s first dam is the winning War Chant mare Quake Lake, making him a half-brother to recent Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes heroine Mitchell Road. Quake Lake herself is a half-sister to Grade 3 victor and Canadian classic hero Breaking Lucky, who is also by Lookin at Lucky and was runner-up in the 2016 Clark Handicap (G1).
The excellent War Chant was a three-time graded winner during his sophomore season, capping his career with an ultra-impressive tally in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs. As a broodmare sire, daughters of War Chant have produced at least 19 stakes winners with overall earnings exceeding $18 million.
Country House has a pedigree that is slanted towards turf in my opinion, and his stakes-winning half-sister can attest to that. While he was unplaced in his debut on the lawn, the sophomore could eventually thrive on the green with his lineage and running style.
The contender has been consistent this spring, displaying a solid late kick in his four 2019 assignments. The robust three-year-old has a quartet of route races under him this season and he should be as fit as any runner in the Kentucky Derby field. He still has a lot of ground to make up on the top players in the cast, however, and he looks like a Triple Crown outsider to me at this stage of his development.
PHOTO: Country House readies for the 145th Kentucky Derby under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs