Kentucky Derby Disqualification
The 2019 Kentucky Derby, ran in Louisville, resulted in the most controversial finish in the race’s 145 year history. While the horse, Maximum Security, finished the race first, jockey Flavien Prat and his horse, Country House, were crowned first place.
After a two minute race, officials took twenty two minutes to review and make the decision to disqualify Maximum Security for breaking the interference rule. This was only the second disqualification in the race’s history. The incident that caused the controversy occurred on the final turn into the home stretch of the race. Maximum Security veered over to his right, causing War of Will and a few other horses to alter their courses.
“He was like a drunk driver,” War of Will’s trainer Mark Casse told Courier Journal. “I think he was intentionally trying to block other horses.”
Country House’s odds of winning the race was a long shot at 65-1. According to NBC Sports, if you placed a $2 bet on Country House winning, you would have received a $132.40 payout. Winning the race made Country House the second biggest underdog ever to be victorious at the Kentucky Derby. The favorite going into the race was Maximum Security ridden by jockey Luis Saez.
“I like being able to root for an underdog,” said senior Yuka Perera. “It keeps events competitive and exciting to watch.”
A part of Country House’s success can be attributed to the wide path jockey Prat kept in the race. Due to this decision, Country House’s course was not heavily altered by the wide swing Maximum Security took on the final turn. According to Prat, his horse was compromised but recovered very nicely.
The top five finishers were Country House, Code of Honor, Tacticus, Improbable, and Game Winner. War of Will finished in seventh place after being forced to slow down because of Maximum Security’s interference.
“It was too bad that a few of the horses were affected by Maximum Security,” said senior Ishaan Karandikar. “But it shouldn’t take anything away from Country House’s victory. It’s impressive.”
This year was the largest payout in the Kentucky Derby’s history. Country House’s owners were awarded a total of $1.86 million and the jockey received $186 thousand. The second place horse’s owners collected $600 thousand.
Fans are already looking forward to next year’s race and, hopefully, a cleaner finish. Horse racing competition continues with the next event in Epsom, England on May 31st.