After examining video and interviewing the jockeys, the officials disqualified first-place finisher MAXIMUM SECURITY for interference at the top of the stretch, and then elevated COUNTRY HOUSE to just the second Win of his career.
The decision cost trainer Jason Servis and jockey Luis Saez their first Kentucky Derby Win, which in turn gave trainer Bill Mott and jockey Flavien Pratt their first.
CODE OF HONOR was elevated to 2nd and TACITUS to 3rd in the 1 1/4-miles race, which for the third straight year was over a wet track. MAXIMUM SECURITY was placed 17th in the field of 19, behind LONG RANGE TODDY, who was also ruled to have been slowed by the infraction.
Jockey Saez admitted MAXIMUM SECURITY “came out a little,” and was likely spooked by the roar of the infield crowd. “I grabbed him. He never put nobody in danger,” Saez argued.
“We had a lengthy review of the race. We interviewed affected riders. We determined that the 7 horse (MAXIMUM SECURITY) drifted out and impacted the progress of Number 1 (WAR OF WILL), in turn, interfering with the 18 (LONG RANGE TODDY) and 21 (BODEXPRESS). Those horses were all affected, we thought, by the interference.
“Therefore, we unanimously determined to disqualify Number 7 and place him behind the 18, the 18 being the lowest placed horse that he bothered, which is our typical procedure.”
Long-shot players were happier. The $2 win payout for COUNTRY HOUSE of $132.40 was the second-biggest in history, behind only DONERAIL, who started at odds of 91-1 in 1913. A $2 Exacta Wager with COUNTRY HOUSE and CODE OF HONOR returned $3,009.60 and a Winning 50-cent trifecta ticket was worth $5,737.65. Those are darn good R.O.I.’s.
The Daily Racing Blog feels it was a judgement call by the stewards, and that they got it wrong. Given that it was not a Stewards Inquiry, but a Jockey Objection, and that the jockey objection was brought on by a rider barely affected by the interference, the 2019 Kentucky Derby seems tainted. What do you think ?