By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Maximum Security’s owner Gary West announced this morning on the TODAY show that he is appealing Saturday’s decision at Churchill Downs. Maximum Security was disqualified after initially winning the “Run for the Roses.”
The appeal will be made on Monday.
“I think this is something that’s big enough that the entire racing world is looking at this and I think they deserve an opportunity to really know what’s going on,” West said to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin in an exclusive interview. “I was bit shocked and surprised that the [race] stewards wrote a statement that was probably prepared by their lawyers and refused, literally refused, to take a single question from the media, so they’ve been about as non-transparent about this whole thing as anything I’ve ever seen in my life.”
During the interview on TODAY, he also announced that Maximum Security will not be competing at the Preakness in Baltimore, Maryland on May 18th. This is the second leg of the Triple Crown.
With Maximum Security missing the Preakness, the odds are he will likely miss the Belmont Stakes, as well, on June 8.
“There’s no Triple Crown on the line for us, and there’s no reason to run a horse back in two weeks when you don’t have to.”
After initially winning, another jockey appealed the win. That led the Churchill Downs stewards to look over the video.
Following their viewing, they determined that Maximum Security impeded the path way of War of Will, who then had to change his course. That then affected several horses in their path during Saturday’s 145th running of the Kentucky Derby.
“It was literally, like the old TV show, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all within a 22-minute period of time,” West said. “We were stunned, shocked, and in complete disbelief. It had never been done before.”
Maximum Security led wire-to-wire. The horse also crossed the finish line with a 1 3/4th lengths lead over Country House.
However, following the appeal, Country House was declared the winner, as Maximum Security was then dropped to 17th place. Country House and its connections won $1.86 million.
The stewards cited this rule in their rulebook: “a leading horse or any other horse in a race swerves or is ridden to either side so as to interfere with, intimidate, or impede any other horse, or hockey,” as their reason for this decision.