A mystery illness has claimed the life of Equirace.com's With a City, winner of the $500,000 Lane's End (gr. II) at Turfway Park and an expected starter in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Mike Maker said the son of City Zip
, who was stabled at Churchill Downs' Trackside training center, fell ill on Thursday with an unknown ailment and quickly deteriorated. The colt was taken to the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky., on Friday, but With a City's condition continued to worsen and the decision to euthanize the colt was made Sunday morning.
Maker said it is possible that the illness that ultimately claimed With a City's life may never be identified.
"They treated him for everything and ran tests on everything," said Maker. "They just don't know at this time. Hopefully, a necropsy will tell us more, but their feeling right now is that they're not so sure that they're going to be able to tell."
With a City would have been the first Kentucky Derby starter for Maker, a former assistant to D. Wayne Lukas. The colt's sudden passing is a crushing disappointment to the trainer and Equirace.com owner Ron Peltz, who was also looking toward his first Derby.
With a City posted a stunning upset when he won the Lane's End on Turfway Park's Polytrack surface at odds of 49-1 March 25. He followed that race with a troubled outing in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, finishing last of 13 after a poor start.
Maker said With a City had trained well since his return from Arkansas, and the plan was to run the colt in the Kentucky Derby.
"He was absolutely a picture of health one minute and gone the next," Maker said.
With a City launched his racing career at Florida's Calder Race Course and raced for a $40,000 claiming tag five times in 10 races as a 2-year-old for trainer Jose Mendez. He was purchased privately by Peitz earlier this year for a reported $150,000 and turned over to Maker. He ran eighth in the John Battaglia Memorial in his first start for his new barn before the Lane's End victory.
The Florida-bred colt had a career record of 4-0-2 in 13 races and earnings of $359,680.