The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has denied an appeal of Maximum Security’s disqualification as Kentucky Derby winner for interference, saying the stewards’ decision is not subject to appeal.
The commission’s letter to attorney D Barry Stilz, who filed the appeal of behalf of owners Gary and Mary West, also denied a request of a stay of the disqualification ruling pending appeal because the law does not provide for such an appeal.
Racing stewards disqualified Maximum Security as the winner and demoted him to to 17th place and elevated Country House to first after an objection filed by two jockeys.
Stewards determined the colt impeded the paths of several horses in the race.
Maximum Security is the first Derby winner disqualified for interference in the race’s 145-year history.
“The stewards unanimously disqualified Maximum Security following two objections lodged immediately after the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby and after a thorough review of the race replay,” the commission said in its letter.
“That determination is not subject to an appeal.”
After a 20-minute video review, officials found that Maximum Security, who was 4-1 favourite, was guilty of a contact foul when he appeared to take a wide turn and impede other horses in the home stretch.
Gary West said he did see Maximum Security, who led from nearly start to finish, move over several lanes but felt such contact was inevitable given the number of horses allowed to race in the Kentucky Derby, which usually features 20 horses but this year had 19 year after a late scratching.
“Churchill Downs, because they’re a greedy organisation, has (20 horses) rather than 14 like you have in the Kentucky Oaks, the Breeders’ Cup, every other race in America,” he said.
“Just because they can make more money, they’re willing to risk horses’ lives and peoples’ lives to do that. I’m not a fan of that. I think they ought to have 14 like every other race.
“Yes I saw the horse move out, but every Kentucky Derby, you could sit down two or three or four horses if you wanted to, because it’s like a rodeo out there.”
West said there would be no rematch with Country House when Baltimore’s Pimlico hosts the Preakness Stakes on May 18.
“We are not going to run The Preakness,” West said. “There’s no Triple Crown on the line for us, and no reason to run a horse back in two weeks when you don’t have to.”