Maximum Security was the first horse to cross the finish line at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. However, he was soon disqualified after an objection was risen from the owners of Country House.
Specifically, the objection was raised for alleged contact at the right turn, where Maximum Security appeared to veer out of his lane for a brief moment before his jockey, Luis Saez, brought him back to his lane.
After about fifteen minutes of deliberation, stewards announced that Maximum Security had been disqualified, and Country House won the Derby.
Maximum Security is now the first horse in history to finish first at the Kentucky Derby, then be disqualified. Country House was favored to win the Derby at odds of 65-1 leading into the race; Maximum Security was the favored horse, with 4-1 odds going into the race. Prior to the disqualification, Country House finished second over the line, and Code of Honor finished third.
During the deliberation, the news anchors relayed their uncertainty over whether Maximum Security should be disqualified for “impeding” the other horses. Prior to the stewards determining the disqualification, the anchors agreed that he should not be disqualified, and he was the best horse on the track on Saturday.
Here’s what you need to know:
LOOK: Maximum Security Veers Out of His Lane, But Spectators Were Conflicted Over Whether He ‘Impeded’ Other Horses
Below, you can see the part of the race where Maximum Security veered slightly out of his lane. Here’s another close-up of Maximum Security, where there appears to have been contact between Maximum Security’s back legs and Country Houses’s front legs:
And here, you can see the end of the race, where Maximum Security flew to the finish line with a considerable margin between his body and the second place finisher.
James Stevens, a journalist for Racing Post, tweeted, “Unbelievable result in the
#KentuckyDerby as Maximum Security loses the race in the stewards room. The reason being he caused interference in the turn, Country House the winner. My opinion, absolutely ridiculous decision from the stewards!”
Aaron Torres, host of Fox Sports Radio, tweeted, “In defense of Maximum Security, that bump was only like the 37th most scandalous thing to happen in Louisville over the last couple years”
Immediately, people began to voice their opinions, many saying that Maximum Security should not have been disqualified. NBC’s Ryan Burr tweeted, “This objection will not hold up at all. Maximum Security will be named the winner. MS stepped out a hair but not enough to flip decision.”
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.
Regardless of the final result, many people seemed disappointed by what they believed was an unfair call. As Country House reached the Winner’s Circle, there was an overwhelming sound of boos coming from the crowd.
Maximum Security’s owners, trainer, and jockey left after the disqualification; they did not provide any initial comments on the decision immediately following the announcement.