As the world sits and awaits the outcome of the unprecedented court challenge to overturn the Gr 1 Kentucky Derby result, a story has come out that impressed me.
A scant few know about this, but it’s worth the telling.
It concerns the hard-working back stretch folk of Monmouth Park racetrack in New Jersey and the many fans of Maximum Security.
Monmouth is where Gr 1 Kentucky Derby first across the line and maybe reinstated 3YO, Maximum Security is right now.
After the controversy of his demotion, Max (as he’s called) was vanned back to New Jersey and the local people rallied to him. Empathy can do that.
All his fans of course had been cheering him on to win the Derby and when he was robbed of the garland that comes with winning the Run For The Roses, someone had an idea.
Monmouth local Bobby Bulger, who lovesall things Monmouth and who started a much trafficked Facebook page called Monmouth Park Racetrack Memories, picks up the story.
“Our group had such an outcry of love and support for Max and Jason Servis his trainer, that after the Derby, we got countless requests asking where to send roses to because he didn’t get his roses,” claimed Bulger.
Outside of it – the DQ – which cost owners Gary and Mary West millions in prizemoney and stud value, others with only an affection for the horse, saw a glaring oversight in a different area.
That of the garland of roses, a Kentucky Derby tradition presented to the winner.
“Collectively our group decided to do a fund raiser to fix this,” Bobby explained.
“So we put the word out and in 24 hours our group raised $700, my wife, Lisa, then took on the project and had a horseshoe of roses professionally created for Max.
“My wife then coordinated it with Monmouth and we finally presented the huge roses arrangement to Jason Servis in the paddock walking ring at Monmouth the day they paraded Max for all the fans.”
That parade day was an emotional roller-coaster ride for many. It was clear, as thousands lined the birdcage to watch the presentation, that much love went out to Max.
“Jason then invited us the next morning to visit with Max and take photos with him. We shared the entire experience on our Facebook group page with our group members.”
The above photo was taken with Lisa and Bobby, Max and the garland off to the side.
“That’s because he wants to eat the roses.”
To many, many racing folk, indeed just about everyone in New Jersey and all those international viewers who saw the race, Maximum Security is the righteous winner of the 2019 Ky Derby.
The locals are biased and understandably so.
The internationals believe so because they know the rest of the world operates under the Category 1 rules of racing and under those rules Max would NEVER have been stripped of his victory.
He may well still get to wear the real garland of roses as his case for reinstatement is now at a 50/50 stage in court.
An no-one predicted it to be that close. But law is a funny beast and the Ky defence rests mainly on the notion that what happens on a racetrack stays on a racetrack and the final word belongs to the stewards of that track.
At this moment, lawmakers are finding that may not be the case!