Kentucky Derby Winner Controversy 2019: What Happened During Race?

Kentucky Derby controversy Maximum Security disqualified

Getty Maximum Security and jockey Luis Saez

In one of the wildest finishes in Kentucky Derby history, the decision on which horse had won the historic race was changed following a bit of drama. While Maximum Security was the first to cross the finish line, the action wasn’t over at that point, as there was a video review shortly after.

Immediately after the race, the win was placed under review as it was stated that Maximum Security had veered out of his lane. In turn, the belief was that it left Country House, who was attempting to pass down the stretch, unable to do so.

Here’s a look at the video of the end of the race, courtesy of Sports on Tap.


Maximum Security Disqualified From Kentucky Derby

When the race wrapped up, Maximum Security appeared to have an impressive win, but when looking back at it, the decision was made to disqualify the horse from the Kentucky Derby. As seen below, courtesy of Jeremy Balan of Bet America, Maximum Security’s leg hit War of Will’s leg on two occasions, nearly leading to a dangerous scene.

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As Heavy.com’s Caroline Burke revealed, Maximum Security’s jockey, Luis Saez, told reporters that the horse was scared from crowd noise which led to the shift out of his lane.

Following the finish of the race, Saez told reporters that his horse got a little bit scared from the noise of the crowd, which is why he veered out of his lane briefly. Maximum Security is still new to racing; his first race was a $16,000 claim in December.


Maximum Security Won’t Run Preakness

With the Preakness Stakes held on Saturday, May 18, the decision was made for Maximum Security to withdraw from the race. It appears the decision for that stems from the horse’s owner, Gary West voicing his obvious displeasure over the Kentucky Derby disqualification.

“Really no need, not having an opportunity to run for the Triple Crown, to run a horse back in two weeks,” West noted to USA Today.

With that said, West cited a potential appeal and the amount of time it would take for that to be decided in a story revealed by ESPN. This could very well have been a factor in the reason Maximum Security will not take part in the Preakness.

“If there’s going to be an appeal it will almost certainly be before the Preakness, but appeals historically take some time to sort out. Win, lose or draw, we’re not going to know the outcome of that until probably months, if not years, down the road.”

To make matters even messier, Billy Kobin and Andrew Wolfson of the Louisville Courier Journal revealed that Saez was handed a 15-day suspension and opted to appeal that decision. As the jockey stated, the decision was “unduly harsh” while the appeal cites that the suspension is not supported by “substantial evidence.”

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