Maximum Security crossed the finish line first in the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, but Country House was declared the winner after an objection was lodged by his jockey Flavien Prat.
The shocking turn of events is the first of its kind in the history of the Derby, leaving racing fans stunned and disappointed – particularly those who’d bet on the undefeated colt.
Though Maximum Security took an early lead and fought off his rivals to finish the race in a time of 2:03.93, a review of the action revealed that he drifted off the rail in the final bend, forcing his opponents wide. Following a lengthy stewards’ inquiry, Maximum Security was disqualified and Country House, whose odds were 65-1, was crowned the winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
Code of Honor was bumped up to second place, Tacitus to third, and Improbable took fourth. Game Winner took the fifth spot.
Watch the race below:
Co-owner of Maximum Security, Gary West, has stated that he wishes to file an appeal with the state racing commission.
The South China Morning Post, however, reported that the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s chief steward, Kim Kelly, notes that the U.S. racing jurisdiction uses the Category Two standard to resolve race objections and inquiries. The rule states that stewards may disqualify a horse that fouls other horses, if they believe the impeded horses were cost an opportunity for a better placing. The offending horse can be placed behind those horses. The rest of the world, on the other hand, relies on the Category One standard, which asks stewards to determine whether an impeded horse would’ve finished ahead of the horse who interfered. Under this principle, it is likely that Maximum Security would not have been disqualified.
West, who had hoped for Triple Crown glory this year, also announced that Maximum Security will not race in the upcoming Preakness Stakes.
Trainer Mark Casse, who trains War of Will who was arguably impacted the most by Maximum Security’s veer out of his lane, pointed out that it is very fortunate there wasn’t a major disaster on the slippery track. Casse commented that there was no benefit to his connections in lodging a complaint as his horse, who finished eighth, would only improve a single position. He was pleased that his horse came away perfectly sound from the incident and is pointing him to the Preakness Stakes, May 18th.