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Why was Maximum Security disqualified at the Kentucky Derby? Only second time in history this occurred

kentucky derby 2019 winner disqualified
The 2019 Kentucky Derby brought a disqualification for the race’s winning horse. Pic credit: NBC Sports

The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs brought plenty of excitement. It also brought a controversial winner, an overturning of the initial results, and the announcement of a new winner.

The initial winner Maximum Security was disqualified due to an objection, making history as only the second time this has happened at the Kentucky Derby.

Why Maximum Security was disqualified

The No. 7 horse was one of the favorites as the post time arrived. Maximum Security held the lead throughout the race and despite a late battle from longshot Country House, it crossed the finish line first.

However, the excitement over the Kentucky Derby results soon turned to nervousness as the jockey, trainer, and owners waited for a decision regarding a post-race objection.

That objection came regarding a move late in the race from the No. 7 horse. As the horses came around the turn, Maximum Security veered out just a bit which impeded War of Will’s path.

The No. 7 horse also got in the way of Long Range Toddy and Country House. Jockey Chris Saez was able to straighten Maximum Security out enough and ultimately took a commanding lead to win the race.

The video below shows footage of what happened during the controversy on Saturday.

Replays were shown repeatedly on NBC to explain what happened as the three stewards also watched the footage in a room away from the track.

After about 15 minutes, they finally reached a huge decision. Unfortunately for the Maximum Security team, that decision went against them.

With the initial winner disqualified, it meant that the new winner was 65-1 longshot Country House.

Second-ever winner disqualified in Derby’s history

According to USA Today, this was the first time a winning horse was disqualified due to a foul claim. It was the second time a winner was disqualified, though, as 1968’s initial winner Dancer’s Image had the win overturned days later due to a drug violation.

Due to the new result, Code of Honor (14-1) was second and Tacitus (5-1) finished third. A $2 bet on Country House ended up paying ticket holders $132.40, which is the Kentucky Derby’s second-highest winner payout ever.

However, one has to think the final results are stinging the team behind Maximum Security after their horse ran the best of all competitors at Churchill Downs.


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