The Kentucky Derby - All Access Sporting News


Updated January 18, 3:56 PM   CT

The Kentucky Derby

May 18, 2019

Maximum Security owner jonesing for PR

    The owner of Maximum Security on Friday issued a multimillion-dollar bet to the owners of four racehorses that benefited from his horse’s disqualification in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

Gary West said he would pay $5 million apiece to the owners of Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress if any of the thoroughbreds finish ahead of his horse in a race through the end of the year.

No horse has to win the race. They just have to cross the finish line ahead of Maximum Security. The other owners would have to put $5 million of their own money to pay West if Maximum Security finishes ahead of theirs.

West said his challenge isn't about the controversial disqualification, but instead, to generate interest in the sport.

“I am doing this because I think it would be good for racing and a unique opportunity to bring more people into racing because of the elevated interest this would bring to the sport,” West told

Any winnings would be donated to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, West said, adding that he would still make a donation even if no owners accept his challenge.

“Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby,” West said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I don’t care to discuss the controversy surrounding the events of the race and the disqualification of my horse at this time, but I firmly believe I have the best 3-year-old in the country and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”

Maximum Security initially finished first in the May 4 race, but was disqualified minutes later for interference, dashing hopes for a potential Triple Crown run. Country House, who finished second, was elevated to first place, War of Will from eighth to seventh, Bodexpress from 14th to 13th and Long Range Toddy from 17th to 16th.

Maximum Security was placed 17th. Churchill Downs stewards ruled the horse drifted into War of Will’s path and affected other horses. Luis Saez, Maximum Security's jockey, was suspended for 15 days for failing to control the horse.

May 14, 2019

Maximum Security jockey suspended

   The jockey responsible for causing interference that resulted in Maximum Security’s historic disqualification at the Kentucky Derby was suspended for 15 days, state racing officials said Monday.

Luis Saez was cited for failing “to make the proper effort to maintain a straight course” during the May 4 race at Churchill Downs, the stewards of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced.

His lawyer called the suspension “unwarranted” and said the rider’s legal team will file an appeal within 10 days. The attorneys are also seeking a stay of the penalty, pending appeal.

“He had a flawless ride in the Kentucky Derby and there’s no reason that the stewards should have given any discipline to him,” attorney Sean Deskins of the Oldfather Law Firm in Louisville said. “He did everything that he was required to do and that was within his power to control the horse.”

He was dropped to 17th by stewards, however, after it was ruled the horse interfered with several other horses between the far and final turns of the 1 1/4-mile race. Maximum Security was near the rail before veering several racing lanes to his right and making contact with War of Will, who retreated, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress.

Video shows Saez did correct the horse, eventually pulling him back toward the rail.

Last week, Mark Casse, War of Will’s trainer, told the Courier-Journal he believes Saez intentionally blocked his horse and compared the horse’s run to a “drunk driver.”

“He carried everybody out intentionally, and then he dives in,” Casse told the Courier-Journal. “It’s almost like following a drunk driver. You don’t know which direction he’s going to go.

Country House, a 65-1 shot was elevated and declared the winner. It was the first time the horse finishing first at the Derby was disqualified for interference.

Previously ---------------

May 7, 2019

Maximum Security losses appeal

   The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission quickly denied the appeal of Maximum Security's disqualification as Kentucky Derby winner for interference, saying hours after it was filed Monday that the stewards' decision is not subject to appeal.

The commission's letter to attorney D. Barry Stilz, who filed the appeal of behalf of owners Gary and Mary West, also denied a request to stay the disqualification ruling pending appeal.

West said he was disappointed by the KHRC decision, but added the matter is not settled.

''Based on everything that has happened so far, I'm not surprised,'' West told The Associated Press in a phone interview after the appeal was denied. ''We'll file suit in whatever the appropriate court is. I don't know the answer to that, but the lawyers that I have retained will know what the appropriate venue is.''

Maximum Security was disqualified from first by the racing stewards and placed 18th in the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. It was the first disqualification due to race riding in the history of the event. The stewards took 22 minutes to declare runner-up Country House the winner after deciding that Maximum Security interfered with several horses when he drifted out from the rail on the final turn.

Maximum Security is the first Derby winner disqualified for interference in the race's 145-year history.

The only other Derby disqualification was in 1968, and long after the race. First-place finisher Dancer's Image tested positive for a prohibited medication, and Kentucky racing officials ordered the purse money to be redistributed. Forward Pass got the winner's share. A subsequent court challenge upheld the stewards' decision.

Previously ------------

May 5, 2019

Country House wins Derby after Maximum Security DQ’d

   Maximum Security crossed the finish line first, but an objection was filed and after twenty anguish filled minutes of deliberation and review, he was ultimately disqualified.

Stewards agreed that he made a wide blocking move that interfered with the path of several horses.

It's the first time in history the horse that crossed the line first didn't win the race. Maximum Security was the favorite in early wagering with 9-2 odds. He also previously won the Florida Derby.

Country House finished second in the slop before objections were raised, causing a 20-minute delay while three stewards repeatedly reviewed different video angles before they unanimously elevated him into the winner's circle.

That gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first Derby victory at age 65.

"It's bittersweet. You always want to win with a clean trip and have everybody recognize the horse as the very good horse and great athlete that he is," Mott said. "Due to the disqualification, I think some of that is diminished."

Jockey Flavien Prat, one of two jockeys who originated the claim of foul, also won his first Derby.

"I'm kind of speechless right now," Prat said, letting out a long sigh.

Country House paid $132.40 to win -- the second-highest payout in Derby history. He was the least affected horse in the chain of events, but the biggest beneficiary.

"Looking at the tote board there's probably a lot of people that didn't think we could win," Mott said, "but that's horse racing."

Gary West, who owns Maximum Security with his wife, Mary, indicated they may pursue an appeal.

"I think this is the most egregious disqualification in the history of horse racing," he told The Associated Press by phone, "and not just because it's our horse."

Country House was dismissed as a long shot with a bad post on the far outside. It was only the chestnut colt's second win in seven career starts and his first stakes victory.

Maybe this was one for his father: Lookin At Lucky got saddled with the dreaded No. 1 post in the 2010 Derby, where he got pinned to the rail and wound up sixth. He rebounded to win the Preakness two weeks later.

The disqualification was a crushing turn of events for Maximum Security trainer Jason Servis and jockey Luis Saez, who already had begun celebrating what they thought were their first Derby victories.

Instead, previously undefeated Maximum Security was dropped to 17th of 19 horses for veering out turning for home and stacking up War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress (also owned by the Wests), according to Barbara Borden, chief steward of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Country House, in turn, was brushed by Long Range Toddy.

Sent off as the 9-2 second choice, Maximum Security was placed behind all the horses that he bothered.

"I never put anybody in danger," Saez said.

Servis backed up his jockey, saying: "He's right. He straightened him up right away and I didn't think it affects the outcome of the race."

Prat claimed that Maximum Security ducked out in the final turn and forced several horses to steady, including Long Range Toddy, whose jockey, Jon Court, also lodged an objection. War of Will came perilously close to clipping heels with Maximum Security, which could have caused a chain-reaction accident.

"There were two horses in the race that lost all chance to win a Kentucky Derby," Mott said. "They were in position at the time to hit the board. If what happened to us was the only thing they were looking at I don't think you would have seen a disqualification."

Mott said the incident was caused by Maximum Security's action and not Saez's riding tactics.

"I don't think Luis Saez did anything intentionally," the trainer said. "My heart actually aches for them a little bit. That's the way it is. I've been on the other end of it, just not in the Kentucky Derby."

The stewards reviewed race footage and interviewed the affected jockeys while keeping the crowd of 150,729 and millions more watching on television and online in suspense. Trainers and jockeys involved stared at the closest video screen waiting for a result.

"I know the stewards had a very, very difficult decision," Mott said. "I'm damn glad they put our number up."

Code of Honor was moved up to second and Tacitus -- also trained by Mott -- was third.

Improbable was fourth and Game Winner fifth, two of trainer Bob Baffert's trio of entries. His other horse, Roadster, was 15th.

The only other disqualification in the Derby occurred long after the race in 1968. Dancer's Image, the first-place finisher, tested positive for a prohibited medication, and Kentucky state racing officials ordered the purse money to be redistributed. Forward Pass got the winner's share. A subsequent court challenge upheld the stewards' decision.

Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

Source: AP; AASNSports; AASNNews


The Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Inaugurated: 1875 

Race Type: Thoroughbred

Race Information

Distance: 1¼ miles (10 furlongs)

Track: Dirt, Left-handed

Qualification: 3-year-old

Weight: Colt/Gelding: 126 lbs (57.2 kg)

Filly: 121 lbs. (54.9 kg)

Purse: US$2 million, 1st $1,425,000

Number of Horses In Race: The field is limited to 20 horses.

Betting jargon you should know:

BET TO WIN: Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory. You're betting on a horse to win the race.

BET TO PLACE: You're betting on a horse to finish either 1st or 2nd in the race.

BET TO SHOW: You're betting on a horse to finish either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the race.

EXACTA: You're betting on both the 1st and 2nd place finishers in a race.

TRIFECTA: You're betting on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in a race.

SUPERFECTA: You're betting on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers in a race.

DAILY DOUBLE: You're betting on the winners of two separate races.

PICK 3: You're betting on the winners of three consecutive races.

PICK 4: You're betting on the winners of four consecutive races.

PICK 5: You're betting on the winners of five consecutive races.

PICK 6: You're betting on the winners of six consecutive races.

List of Triple Crown winners

1919 Sir Barton

1930 Gallant Fox

1935 Omaha

1937 War Admiral

1941 Whirlaway

1943 Count Fleet

1946 Assault

1948 Citation

1973 Secretariat

1977 Seattle Slew

1978 Affirmed

2015 American Pharoah

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