A co-owner of Maximum Security, the horse that was stunningly disqualified from the Kentucky Derby just minutes after being named the first-place finisher on Saturday, said he will appeal his horse’s historic loss.
“We are going to file an appeal today with the state racing commission,” Gary West said Monday on NBC’s “Today.”
Maximum Security was the first horse to cross the finish line but was disqualified for interference after it was determined that the horse and jockey had veered into the path of other horses.
The disqualification, the first of its kind in the race’s history, made the initial second-place finisher, Country House, the winner.
“It was literally like the old TV show, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all within a 22-minute period of time,” West said. “We were stunned, shocked and in complete disbelief. It had never been done before.”
West criticized the operators of Churchill Downs racetrack, where the annual race is held, and accused them of being “greedy” for having so many horses on the field. “It’s like a rodeo out there,” he said of the conditions.
Twenty horses compete each year in the 145-year-old race, according to the event’s website, which also describes the field size as larger than most horse races.
West said the race should be limited to 14 horses, which is the maximum number of horses allowed to compete in the upcoming Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.
West’s planned appeal to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission may be dead on arrival, however, as race rulings by stewards are declared “final and not subject to appeal,” the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
West told the Daily Racing Forum on Sunday that he would appeal to the federal court if he couldn’t appeal to the racing commission.
Marc Guilfoil, executive director of the KHRC, said he agrees with the stewards’ decision “100 percent” and that any attempt to overturn it would fail.
“It was the right and correct call,” he told the Courier-Journal. “It wasn’t a popular call. [But] it’s an integrity and a safety issue and they did what the rules provide [for] them to do.”
West said racing fans shouldn’t expect to see Maximum Security compete at the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.
“There’s no Triple Crown on the line for us and there’s no reason to run a horse back in two weeks when you don’t have to,” he told NBC.