Owner of Disqualified Kentucky Derby Horse to Appeal Decision
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Maximum Security owners appeal Kentucky Derby disqualification

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Update 4:40 p.m. EDT May 6: Lexington, Kentucky, attorneys Barry Stilz and Karen A. Murphy, acting for Maximum Security’s owners, Gary and Mary West, filed an appeal to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, claiming the 3-year-old colt did not interfere with other horses when drifting wide of the rail at the top of the stretch at Churchill Downs, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.

Stewards disqualified Maximum Security after a 22-minute review, awarding the race to longshot Country House.

According to the appeal, “The stewards' acts in reviewing the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby were arbitrary and capricious and did not comply with applicable administrative regulations,” the Louisville Courier Journal reported. “Their determination to disqualify Maximum Security is not supported by substantial evidence”

The appeal was signed by Gary West and sent to Marc Guilfoil, the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, the newspaper reported.

The appeal also requested that the race’s $3 million purse be placed into escrow to prevent payout, the Herald Leader reported.

Original report: The owner of Maximum Security said he will file an appeal to reverse the disqualification that cost his horse a victory in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, ESPN reported Monday.

Gary West told the Daily Racing Form on Sunday he was contemplating an appeal, and Monday he told “Today” he would file an appeal with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, ESPN reported. West added that Maximum Security would skip the Preakness, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, the network reported.

It was the first time in Kentucky Derby history a horse had been disqualified because of actions on the track, the network reported. Country House, a 65-1 long shot who finished 1¾ lengths behind Maximum Security to finish second, was declared the winner in the Run for the Roses.

>> Photos: Country House wins 2019 Kentucky Derby

During the 145th running of the event at Churchill Downs, Maximum Security was disqualified when stewards, after a 22-minute delay, unanimously decided the colt interfered with several horses when he drifted away from the rail on the final turn at Churchill Downs. Stewards said Maximum Security impeded the progress of War of Will, who in turn affected Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.

>> Longshot Country House wins Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security DQ’d

According to Kentucky’s administrative regulations, the stewards’ decision “shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal,” the Herald Leader reported.

West told the Daily Racing Form that if he could not 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.”

West said he requested a meeting with stewards to review video of the race but was rebuffed, the newspaper reported.

"Right after the race, I had the trainer call the stewards and very nicely ask them if they would be willing to visit with us after the races were over,” West told “Today.” “I said, 'We'll stay here until 11, 12 o'clock at night, whatever you want,' and they said, 'Absolutely not, we won't be showing the films until Thursday.' We didn't really have any alternative legally ... the appeal has to be filed within 48 hours."

The only other time a Kentucky Derby disqualification went to court was in 1968, ESPN reported. Dancer's Image won the race but was disqualified several days later after trace amounts of a then-banned drug was found in his system. A long court battle followed, and while Dancer’s Image initially won, their victory was reversed on appeal, ESPN reported.

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