After a tense review period that lasted more than 20 minutes, after the apparent winning connections had already been interviewed on live television, the three stewards at Churchill Downs on Saturday made the difficult decision to disqualify Maximum Security for interfering with other horses around the final turn and gave the Kentucky Derby victory to the 65-1 shot Country House. In the 145-year history of the Derby, no other horse had lost a win for such an act. An objection is a claim of foul lodged by a rider, a patrol judge or another racing official. The stewards, who oversee races for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and for Churchill Downs, got to work studying replays of the race, with millions of dollars riding on their decision. They analyzed every available angle of the race on screens in a tiny clubhouse office high above the racetrack. The riders of No. 18, Long Range Toddy, and No. 20, Country House, had lodged complaints against Maximum Security, saying there had been interference as they left the quarter-pole and headed for home. Stewards unanimously agreed that Maximum Security drifted out and affected the progress of No. 1, War of Will, in turn interfering with Long Range Toddy and No. 21, Bodexpress. Country House became the first horse to win the Derby on an objection; Dancer’s Image was disqualified in 1968 after a post-race urinalysis found traces of a banned substance, and Forward Pass was declared the winner.
Photo Credit: NBC Sports via YouTube screenshot
President Trump added his outrage yesterday to the national dustup over Saturday’s controversial Kentucky Derby finish, complaining that disqualifying the apparent winning horse for interfering with another is a sign of political correctness run amok. “The Kentucky [sic] Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!”
The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough & tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019