This story should be taken very, very seriously because what it tells is so profound, it just may change racing and indeed sport results the world over, here ever after.
The Gr 1 Kentucky Derby issue will not go away.
In fact, law makers seem to be warming to the plaintiff’s request, which is that their horse Maximum Security be re-instated as the official winner of the Kentucky Derby of this year.
So concerned is the opposition in this case – the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), and they are the stewards of that fateful day and the 14 board members – that just last weekend they filed, for the 2nd time, documents stating in their view that the federal judge has no grounds for upholding the claims of Maximum Security’s owners, Mr and Mrs West, and that therefore the case should be dismissed. The KHRC feel strongly that the plaintiffs (Gary and Mary West) still have failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted.
And under-pinning all of their posturing is the long-held belief that what happens on a racetrack stays on a race track – meaning the stewards’ decision is final.
The Wests want nothing to do with that old adage and the fact the federal court is keeping this open so long now, gives rise to the potential of an unprecedented moment in global horse racing history.
The world watched the race and newly everyone outside of Kentucky agreed that Maximum Security should have kept the race. His owners were livid and so began on May 14 to seek the reversal of the unprecedented Derby DQ, plus reinstatement of the original order of finish “confirming that Maximum Security is the official winner of the Derby.”
No-one has dared to do that in horse racing before.
But then again, probably no-one has ever been so blatantly robbed by such an inept ref’s call.
To recap the race briefly, Maximum Security won the time-honoured event but not before he wobbled on the home turn causing interference to a tired horse who was going backwards anyway. In NO way did his action impact the final standings and he was clearly the best horse on the day. The Churchill Downs stewards judged that Maximum Security fouled the well-beaten horse at the time, Long Range Toddy.
And they got that part right.
But then the stewards chose to use a repugnant old rule that claims if you foul a horse you get placed behind that horse, so Maximum Security was placed 17th (behind Long Range Toddy) citing that draconian, ridiculous rule to justify their demotion.
This meant long shot Country House was elevated to first and recognized as the official Derby winner.
In submissions entered into court on the weekend, the now flailing KHRC suggested globally that Pandora’s Box could be opened for all sport if the federal court ruled in favour of the Wests.
“That the sport of horse racing is regulated by the state does not change the nature of foul calls compared to other sports,” a separate footnote said.
“Indeed, the effect of what the Wests propose is staggering. Consider, for example, that high school sports are regulated by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association…. If foul calls are subject to due process challenges like the Wests’ have brought, then every blow of the whistle at a high school sporting event—baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, track, swimming, tennis—is a single filing away from an administrative hearing or—as here—a federal lawsuit.”
This has MASSIVE implications for racing in every country should the impossible happen, that being the Wests actually win this thing.
For them it will be an enormous windfall as their horse would go from being worth about $10million to being worth around $26million – plus they would get the first placed prizemoney.