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The Controversy at the Kentucky Derby - Winner Disqualified?

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    Maximum Security wins the Kentucky Derby! Wait, no he didn't. For the first time in Derby history, a move by the winner during the race was contested and the outright winner was stripped of his title, making Country House the official Derby winning horse.

    Wow. It took the judges about 20 minutes after the race to study the tape and determine that Maximum Security did in fact impede on Country House's final turn move and that was enough to disqualify the horse and give the runner-up the win.

    This feels all wrong to me. I will post the video once it hits YouTube for everyone to weigh in but watching real time it just seemed like it was a really tight bunch of horses and in the mud and rain they touched just a little but how could you not? I personally would rather see this race re-run than the runner-up win and clearly the better horse get disqualified and the whole program and jockey getting shamed right along with the horse.

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    Agreed, it does feel wrong. Bob Baffert's horse, Restoring Hope made a controversial move at the Belmont Stakes last year, and didn't get disqualified. He used that horse essentially as a blocker for Justify. If that wasn't called to attention, why would something like this have been? All in all, it really is unfortunate. Many people lost money and their tempers over that call for sure.
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    JFoster Wrote: Agreed, it does feel wrong. Bob Baffert's horse, Restoring Hope made a controversial move at the Belmont Stakes last year, and didn't get disqualified. He used that horse essentially as a blocker for Justify. If that wasn't called to attention, why would something like this have been? All in all, it really is unfortunate. Many people lost money and their tempers over that call for sure.

    Good point. Maybe it's politics. Baffert owned both horses and it's not as high profile as the Derby. So maybe that had something to do with it. Plus they would have disqualified Restoring Hope and not Justify so the winner wouldn't have changed, unless there's a protocol to re-run the race I'm not aware of?

    I think this was the right call but I agree with above, I would rather see a re-running of the race. Easier said than done though as these races are really hard on the horses and what kind of product would you get. That would be equally controversial, maybe even more so.

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    Also gotta love Twitter:

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    Here's the full race. Watch the objection and let me know your thoughts. Also, how deflating is all this for the sport? I'm still pretty shocked they made this call.

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    I still can't wrap my head around this race and the ensuing aftermath.

    On one hand, I can't help but agree with the racing stewards decision to disqualify Maximum Security for interference. The interference was pretty clear and there could have been a potentially catastrophic pile up that would have wiped out half the field if it weren't for the quick thinking by jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

    On the other hand, it really sucks to see three faceless stewards decide the victor of the biggest horse race of the year.

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    I wonder what this will do to both horses breeding practices. Maximum Security's win would give it extremely high breeding value, and Country House would probably be slightly less. But will this technicality swap the two? I assume the title of "Kentucky Derby Winner" could still be used for Maximum given the time stamp of each horse, but I can also see breeders being obnoxiously picky about these things.

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    PowerPlay Wrote:

    I wonder what this will do to both horses breeding practices. Maximum Security's win would give it extremely high breeding value, and Country House would probably be slightly less. But will this technicality swap the two? I assume the title of "Kentucky Derby Winner" could still be used for Maximum given the time stamp of each horse, but I can also see breeders being obnoxiously picky about these things.

    That's a good question. No doubt a Kentucky Derby winner title adds to the pedigree and value of the horse. But I don't think Country House's stock will rise that much. Seems like everyone agrees that Maximum Security was the best horse during the race and I would bet all people buying horses for breeding purposes are well in the know about that fact.

    So it seems like the argument for disqualification now is the Derby wanted to send the message that a horse can't endanger the field during a race, as Maximum Security's move came real close to causing a massive pile up and that would have undoubtedly been terrible for the sport and everyone on the track. I still don't agree with the call but I do understand that point and don't know what you do about it if you don't disqualify the winner:

Categories: Kentucky Derby