It’s on to Pimlico and the Preakness Stakes for controversial Kentucky Derby winner Country House, but a rematch between the Bill Mott trained Derby winner and Maximum Security — first at the wire, but then shockingly disqualified — now seems unlikely. The DQ’d horse’s owner Gary West told the Today Show Monday he’s not headed to Baltimore and the Preakness.

Maximum Security
Without the Kentucky Derby winners’ symbolic garland of roses, a seemingly dejected Maximum Security heads back to his stall at Churchill Downs. Image: (AP)

Country House, a rank outsider at odds of 65/1, now goes down in racing annals as the beneficiary of a debatable disqualification in the 2019 edition of the US’s most significant horse race. Maximum Security will always be remembered as the horse, although clearly the fastest at 1 1/4 mile this day on a sloppy surface, veering from a straight path to interfere with War of Will, nearly dropping that horse and jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

Rules are the Rules?

From Kentucky Horse Racing Commission: Section 12 – Fouls: 

A leading horse if clear is entitled to any part of the track. If the leading horse or any other horse in the race swerves, or is ridden to either side as to interfere with, intimidate, or impede any other horse or jockey, or the cause the same result, this action shall be deemed a foul. If a jockey strikes another horse or jockey, it is a foul. If in the opinion of the stewards a foul alters the finish of a race, an offending horse may be disqualified by the stewards.”

According to the stewards, Maximum Security’s jockey Luis Saez is responsible for the incident. Kentucky rules do not allow for an appeal of the stewards’ rulings. However, owners Gary and Mary West say they may pursue a remedy through the legal system for what they believe is an unjust decision.

Gary West called it “the most egregious disqualification in the history of horse racing” in an interview with the Associated Press.

On Sunday, he told the Daily Racing Form that if he were unable to appeal the stewards’ decision to the racing commission:

“The only recourse a person would have would be to get it into the federal court system. I don’t know we’re going to do (that). I want to see the video, I want to understand the facts, I want time to think about it.”

West’s Maximum Security, the former $16,000 claimer, was first to cross the Churchill Downs finish line, but was taken down and placed 17th. The three-member stewards panel ruling unanimously after a 23 minute deliberation period that Country House is officially the Derby victor. His connections now are taking home the winners’ share of the $3 million purse. That’s about $1.86 million to be divided among the ownership group, Country House’s trainer Bill Mott and jockey Flavien Pratt.

For the official chart of the 2019 Kentucky Derby click here.

Record Betting Totals

Race fans were pushing cash through the betting windows with both hands. Churchill Downs officials announced on Sunday that wagering from all-sources on the 14-race Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $250.9 million, an 11 percent increase over the 2018 total and previous record of $225.7 million.

Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race itself increased 10 percent to $165.5 million from the previous record of $149.9 million just last year.

This year’s betting record includes $4.1 million of handle wagered in Japan, the initial time the Kentucky Derby has ever been offered for wagering in the country. The Japanese entrant, Master Fencer, was a stout 6th in the race at off odds of 58/1.

Key Horses Headed to Baltimore

Despite the continuing swirling controversy over the initial first place disqualification for a riding infraction in 145 renewals of the world famous race, the Thoroughbred world is gradually is shifting its focus to the second jewel in Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown — The Preakness Stakes May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Here’s the projected Preakness field for the 1 3/16 mile test:

  • Alwaysmining
  • Anothertwistafate
  • Bodexpress*
  • Bourbon War
  • Code of Honor*
  • Country House*
  • Laughing Fox
  • Maximum Security*
  • Mr. Money
  • Owendale
  • Signalman
  • War of Will*

*last raced in Kentucky Derby

Sueno, trained by Keith Desormeaux told TVG Sunday afternoon, his horse, who barely missed out on having enough points to make the Derby starting gate, will not be pointed towards Baltimore and the Preakness. 

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