Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Rules On Maximum Security Appeal

Tyler Gaffalione | Coady

West has said that Maximum Security will bypass the Preakness, thus depriving his horse of a shot at redemption and denying horse racing fans a juicy rematch with Country House. The trainer's two horses in the Run for the Roses field - Country House and Tacitus - had finished second and fourth, respectively, not good enough to win at Churchill Downs but good enough to start planning for their next race, which likely would have been the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

"We were stunned, shocked, and in total disbelief", West said.

Co-owner Gary West said in the live interview that he also intends to file an appeal with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Monday.

"I don't know if anyone else in the country bet $4 to win that super", Shelton said.

After Maximum Security finished first Saturday and was declared the victor, a video review showed the horse bumping into the second-place finisher, Country House, on the final turn.

After a 20-minute video review, officials found that Maximum Security, which was 4-1 favourite to win the 1¼ mile race, was guilty of a contact foul when it appeared to take a wide turn and impede other horses in the home stretch.

'I think there's no Triple Crown on the line for us, ' West said.

"The reason that they have 20 horses instead of 14, like they do in every other major race in America, including the Kentucky Oaks and all the Breeders Cup races, which are kind of the gold standard races in America, is because ..."

"The stewards' acts in reviewing the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby were arbitrary and capricious and did not comply with applicable administrative regulations", reads the appeal.

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It was "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all within a 22-minute period of time", West told the TODAY Show on Monday.

"Well it shows that the sport is well governed by the racing officials, that they made a very tough decision and in one of the largest and the biggest race in the United States", he said.

When pressed on the letter of the law, West did not back down and reiterated his opposition to Maximum Security's disqualification.

Country House's jockey, Flavien Prat, said the reversal was the correct decision.

"We didn't really have any alternative legally, the appeal has to be filed within 48 hours", West said.

Taken down as the Kentucky Derby victor, Maximum Security is now out of the Preakness.

It was the first victor in the 145-year history of the $3m (£2.2m) race to be disqualified on the day. "And, what I think they are doing and what they have done is, they are putting profits ahead of the lives of both horses and people, and I don't think that's right". Maximum Security bumped War of Will, who then hit Country House and it was determined that this action cost Country House a shot at the win.

When asked for comment, Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said in an email to Reuters that the infraction by Maximum Security had nothing to do with the number of horses in the race and that there is no evidence to the contrary.

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