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Controversy at the Derby

The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby was marred in controversy and disbelief this past Saturday.  What had appeared to be a decisive victory for front runner Maximum Security quickly turned into 22 minutes of confusion as officials considered protests that were lodged as a result of the running, says Gaurav MohindraAs the confusion subsided the victory was taken away from Maximum Security and awarded to Country House.

The protests lodged against Maximum Security resulting in disqualification stemmed from the leading horse, in this case Maximum Security, interfering with other horses.  The three stewards who were officiating the event found that Maximum Security had impeded the progress of another horse, War of Will, and in doing so – nearly knocked over that horse’s jockey Tyler Gaffalione.  As a result of this impediment, Maximum Security was disqualified.

This was the first time in Kentucky Derby history that the horse who won the race was not declared the winner.  The conditions of the track were very muddy due to the inclement rain and weather, says Gaurav Mohindra.  It made for a very messy race, in more ways than one.

Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security, was vocal about his displeasure in the ruling against his horse.  He criticized the lack of transparency by the stewards in making their determination and indicated that he may file an appeal with Kentucky racing authorities or possibly in court.

President Trump conveyed his displeasure with the ruling by tweeting “The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough & tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!”

Owner, Gary West, further conveyed that Maximum Security will not run in the next upcoming major horse race – The Preakness Stakes.  The Preakness Stakes, Kentucky Derby, and Belmont Stakes collectively make for the triple crown.  The triple crown is designated as the highest award in US horse racing as the horse that wins all three of the races in the same year is deemed the triple crown winner.  With Maximum Security being disqualified from the Kentucky Derby its chances of winning the triple crown no longer exist.  It’s likely that an appeal or court challenge will not change West’s decision to not run Maximum Security in the Preakness since that race is scheduled for May 18.