Kentucky Derby 145 marred in controversy

May 5, 2019

For the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby, the horse that crossed the finished line first was not recognized as the winner.

After a delay of nearly 22 minutes to review, the stewards at Churchill Downs opted to disqualify Maximum Security, leaving second-place finisher Country House as the 2019 Kentucky Derby winner. He paid $132.40 to win, the second-highest-priced winner in Derby history.

Maximum Security came out as the field made their way around the final turn, bumping with War of Will, who was just to his outside. An objection was made by jockey Flavien Prat, who was aboard Country House. Jon Court, the rider of Long Range Toddy, also lodged an objection.

Barbara Borden, chief steward for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, issued the following statement:

“The riders of the 18 (Long Range Toddy) and 20 (Country House) horses in the Kentucky Derby lodged objections against the seven horse, the winner, alleging interference turning for home leaving the quarter pole. We had a lengthy review of the race, interviewed affected riders, and determined that the seven horse drifted out and impacted the number 1 (War of Will), who in turn interfered with the 18 and 21 (Bodexpress). Those horses were all affected. Therefore, we unanimously determined to disqualify number 7 and place him behind 18. That is our typical procedure.”

When the dust settled it was the first win of Hall of Famer trainer Bill Mott. He acknowledge during his post-race press conference that the win was “bittersweet”.

“I would be lying if I said it was any different. You always want to win with a clean trip and have everybody recognize the horse for the great athlete that he is. I think, due to the disqualification, probably some of that is diminished. But this is horse racing.”

The time for the race, run over a sloppy (sealed) track drenched by rain late in the afternoon, was 2:03.93.

Country House paid $132.40 to win, $56.60 to place and $24.60 to show after being elevated to victory.

Code of Honor paid $15.20 to place and $9.80 to show.

Out of the money before the disqualification, Tacitus paid $5.60 to show.

The $2 exacta of Country House and Code of Honor paid $3,009.60.

The 50-cent trifecta paid $5,737.65.

The $1 superfecta, with fourth-place finisher Improbable joining the top three, paid $51,400.10.

Maximum Security was placed 17th in the final order of finish, so that the colt came in behind the lowest-finishing horse affected in the incident that led to the disqualification.

ORDER OF FINISH:

  1. Country House
  2. Code of Honor
  3. Tacitus
  4. Improbable
  5. Game Winner
  6. Master Fencer
  7. War of Will
  8. Plus Que Parfait
  9. Win Win Win
  10. Cutting Humor
  11. By My Standards
  12. Vekoma
  13. Bodexpress
  14. Tax
  15. Roadster
  16. Long Range Toddy
  17. Maximum Security
  18. Spinoff
  19. Gray Magician

*Image from @rickbozich

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