The owner of Maximum Security, the horse that finished first in the Kentucky Derby but was later disqualified for interference, has been denied the right to appeal the decision.
Gary West, whose horse became the first winner to be disqualified for an on-track infraction, said that the dramatic turn on events at Churchill Downs left him “stunned, shocked and in total disbelief”.
But his appeal against the disqualification was denied by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
It called the request “moot” because the decision to disqualify Maximum Security and install second-placed Country House as winner was not subject to appeal.
“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 wrote in a 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 to win the 1-1/4 mile race, was guilty of a contact foul when he appeared to take a wide turn and impede other horses in the home stretch.
The disqualification ruling handed the win to Country House, which had been a 65-1 long shot.
“I think there is no Triple Crown on the line for us, and there is no reason to run a horse back in two weeks when you don’t have to,” Mr West said in an interview with NBC’s TODAY show.
He added: “I think this is something that’s big enough that the entire racing world is looking at this, and I think they deserve an opportunity to really know what was going on.”
Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said 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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