After the disqualification of Maximum Security from a front-running victory in Saturday’s 145th Kentucky Derby (G1), and the awarding of the roses to 65-1 longshot Country House, the racing world erupted on Twitter.
Here’s a sampling of the arguments from a range of racing personalities:
Don’t you have to take Maximum security down? Came out out on War of Will and then hit Code of Honor almost into the rail.
— Jeremy Balan (@jeremybalan) May 4, 2019
This is the slow-mo they just showed of Maximum Security’s leg literally hitting War of Will’s leg twice. Like I said, a miracle there wasn’t a complete disaster out there. pic.twitter.com/QKY1xPEMyF
— Jeremy Balan (@jeremybalan) May 4, 2019
For those that don’t understand the rules of racing, a Jockey is responsible for staying in his lane. The Stewards @ChurchillDowns made the correct decision today in @KentuckyDerby pic.twitter.com/oFjrDhn5u2
— Kenny McPeek (@KennyMcPeek) May 5, 2019
The game is officially broken.
— charles simon (@cannonshell) May 4, 2019
Given the current emphasis on safety the winner had to come down, right?
— Nick Kling (@docfonda) May 4, 2019
100% correct call
— Gary Stevens (@GStevens_jockey) May 5, 2019
Best horse win the Kentucky Derby. Leave it alone.
— Richard Migliore (@RichardMigliore) May 4, 2019
Obviously Maximum Security came out. Did it change the outcome? There has been more rough riding in the derby than any other race in history. The 86 derby Shoe on Ferdinand took Rampages path in the stretch and it was lauded as great race riding. The culture has changed.
— Richard Migliore (@RichardMigliore) May 5, 2019
“This wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago” is a terrible defense for your disagreements with the DQ
— Teresa Genaro (@BklynBckstretch) May 5, 2019
It wasn’t totally his fault. The crowd definitely does spook the horses. I know cause I have ridden in the Derby but, at the same token we are riding them and should make every effort to keep them straight. Luis didn’t do it intentionally but, there was a foul
— Chris DeCarlo (@Equinepilot1) May 5, 2019
— Neil Callan (@neilcallan78) May 5, 2019
I think the foul on the 1 was legit. Hard to argue it didn’t cost him a placing. I’m surprised they made the call in the Derby though.
— Craig Milkowski (@TimeformUSfigs) May 4, 2019
— Scott Shapiro (@ScottShap34) May 4, 2019
Saez had every opportunity to stick to the rail when rounding the turn, whether the horse was lugging out or he chose to intimidate a bit, he still made contact with Will and almost caused a massive spill. KY stewards not afraid to tell everyone that will not be tolerated 💪🏻
— Brandon Stauble (@bstaubs22) May 5, 2019
Bullshit call – Prat sold them on it – Tyler never said a word – Country House hung like Tapistry Down the lane and you want to tell me it was a foul why don’t you watch Country House squeeze Bodieexpress out –
— Racingwithbruno (@Racingwithbruno) May 4, 2019
The more I see the video the more I’m sure Maximum Security deserves to come down. Major and dangerous foul that clearly affected the finish. #KYDerby
— Jessica Chapel (@railbird) May 4, 2019
Bailey I know the rule and it is wrong. But even if applied, even if we allowed it sufficient credence – it says “if clear” – there is NO mention of 2 lengths and as such that makes imposing it inadmissible.
— Ric Chapman (@songopoly) May 4, 2019
— John G. Dooley (@JohnGDooley) May 4, 2019
Absolutely no change if this was in England or Ireland either.
— Art Martineau (@rebelsart) May 5, 2019
In no other racing jurisdiction outside of North America does Maximum Security get demoted. Please, please, please America, let’s get this corrected.
— Pat Cummings (@PatCummingsTIF) May 4, 2019
Now – are these the best rules we could have? (no) Was the best horse demoted and deprived of a win? (probably) Is there an alternative? (yes) Is the alternative perfect? (no, nothing is) Is the alternative more fair? (depends – something always has to give)
— Pat Cummings (@PatCummingsTIF) May 5, 2019
But your point is flawed because the result of him being a “clear winner” includes fouling multiple horses. Two of which were making serious rallies at the time of the infraction. Therefore, he would not have been a clear winner if not for the infraction.
— Darin Zoccali (@atTheTrack7) May 5, 2019
Bitterly, bitterly disappointed, only 20 minutes after being elated by Maximum Security’s victory. If ever there was a reason why the @PatCummingsTIF push to move to Category 1 stewarding should come to the fore, the 145th Kentucky Derby is it #horseracing
— Andrew Hawkins (@AndrewNJHawkins) May 4, 2019
Look, that is the issue. Our rules (and we are the only jurisdiction that does it) are too broad, allows for too much subjectivity.
— Alan Carasso (@EquinealTDN) May 5, 2019
— David Morgan (@themorgangrind) May 5, 2019
All of the above? Saez rode an masterful pace-setting race but ultimately more fair to blame him for the (near) debacle than demote the horse, and punish the owners, bettors.
— Cormac Breathnach (@CormacCB) May 5, 2019
I haven’t seen enough to say about the DQ; that said, suspension/fine w/o DQ happens regularly everywhere I’ve been lately.
— caton bredar (@CBredar) May 5, 2019
The stewards made the right call. We’re damn lucky there wasn’t a chain reaction collision at the top of the Derby stretch. It’s only by the grace of god War of Wills and Max didn’t clip heels.
— David Israel (@RealDavidIsrael) May 5, 2019
The rule is bad. Stewards did make the right call based on the way the rule is written. Country House had the length of the stretch to go by and couldn’t. Current rules leave way too much for interpretation. USA should switch to international standards plus get safety part right. https://t.co/X1cTdtPfZs
— Craig Bernick (@Craig_Bernick) May 5, 2019
MS went out five paths then back in which caused one horse to clip heels, two to check very hard, and even came in and bumped into Code of Honor.
Prat and Court claimed foul. Gaff did not feel it was worth going up 8th to 7th.
Clear as day. Unquestionably the correct call. https://t.co/NmOTTcG2h9
— C. Shelly (@ballydolphin) May 5, 2019
Who is served by taking down the clearly best horse? When I went to steward’s school at U of L the first rule was “look for a reason to leave the best horse up, don’t look for a reason to take him down.” If WOW’s rider thought he was cost a placing, he would have claimed foul.
— John Perrotta (@j_perrotta) May 5, 2019
I would DQ the winner of the Kentucky derby here. That was a whole lot of drifting. Shocked war of Will didn’t get tangled.
— Jason Beem (@BeemieAwards) May 4, 2019
But . . . that is how we do things in the US. I’ll say it again: This practice creates one lesser right (dqing a horse that ‘fouled’) while creating two greater wrongs (elevating a horse who wasn’t winning and dqing a worthy winner). https://t.co/YQVUkwAAJc
— Marcus Hersh (@DRFHersh) May 4, 2019
It doesn’t matter who the best horse was; this was a textbook category II interference ruling that the US employs in ALL states. The rest of the world is category I and would not have DQ’d the winner.
— Erin (@ErinDMcQuaid) May 4, 2019
Agreed 💯MS was best horse in the field today.
— Top Line Sales (@TopLineTBs) May 4, 2019
Zero doubt… Maximum Security was the best horse. That’s not even up for debate. But he did bear out and impede other horses. Gotta play by the rules.
— Jason Hall (@JHall8888) May 5, 2019
— Marty McGee (@DRFMcGee) May 4, 2019
Maximum Security very clearly impeded War of Will. MS was likely the best horse in the race today – but that doesn’t change the fact that he impeded War of Will, likely costing him a placing. Country House happens to be the beneficiary. A warranted DQ IMO. #KentuckyDerby
— Matt Bernier (@bernier_matt) May 4, 2019
I think Maximum Security purse was stolen too. 🤦♂️@AskRubenHow2Bet
— Art Martineau (@rebelsart) May 4, 2019
Every year something like that happens at the start, 1st time by, 1st turn, on backstretch, 2nd turn, in the stretch
It is almost like with 19 & 20 horses there will always be traffic problems like that huh? Almost
— Ruben (@AskRubenHow2Bet) May 4, 2019
Count me in the camp that thinks that was a no-brainer call and would’ve been a lot easier to do on a Thursday at Aqueduct. Maximum Security was obviously the best horse, but the rule is what it is.
— Brian DiDonato (@BDiDonatoTDN) May 5, 2019
The, “On a normal race day, he’d have been disqualified immediately,” argument is interesting to me… because I’d argue on a normal race day, you wouldn’t have had a definitive camera angle. #everythingsfine
— Susie (@ponyace) May 5, 2019
Maximum Security was the best horse. Things might go wrong and they’re not going to always be perfect. Animals are animals. To me, the call to disqualify was unfair. I’m disappointed, pissed at the same time. Maximum Security didn’t even touch or interfere w/Country House at all. pic.twitter.com/xbgCG69hRu
— Faisal (@DeepRacing) May 4, 2019
Sad for Maximum Security’s team, but the right call. Dangerous foul, though unintentional. And War of Will, making his move at the time, lost his chance.
— Dorothy Ours (@HorseyGort) May 5, 2019
If you are following the rules as written, how do the stewards’ escape dq-ing. It’s very depressing that the best horse came down, but the problem is the rules, not the interpretation….
— Pedigree Consultants (@Pedigreeconsult) May 4, 2019
Just saying… if the KY standard is a cost-a-placing standard, Max Security did not… War of Will was prominent until the eighth, well after the foul, when he spit it
— The Racing Biz (@TheRacingBiz) May 5, 2019
War of Will,your brave agility and Tyler Gaffalione’s excellent horsemanship just saved Horseracing for another day on the day everyone’s watching ! #thankful
— jill byrne (@jillrbyrne) May 5, 2019
My Derby opinion because we need more of those. Stewards got it right. Maximum Security ran his ass off. Game Winner deserves the Iditarod trophy for amount of ground covered. Master Fencer. Still got jokes? The horses I played this weekend just finished. Time to give blood.
— Donald Harris (@ClockerDH) May 5, 2019
It was a tough call, not a bad one, and they happened to make what I believe was the wrong call. It’s okay and we will move on. Keep it civil.
— Michael Adolphson (@AdolphsonRacing) May 5, 2019
“I have to apologize… Country House is the winner of the Kentucky Derby.” pic.twitter.com/eJQED7NHQE
— Brad Whipple w/ Post SWCC Blues (@brad_whipple) May 4, 2019
— Caleb Noe (@wvltCaleb) May 5, 2019
The year of bad calls.
— Mike Arledge (@mike_arledge) May 5, 2019
Have you heard?!! We’re refunding win bets on Maximum Security in the @KentuckyDerby. Here’s what our @EJXD2 & @VPHanson thought of the DQ plus some early @PreaknessStakes thoughts pic.twitter.com/ur9YPIECAq
— TwinSpires.com (@TwinSpires) May 5, 2019
The controversy might not be over, with Maximum Security’s connections considering an appeal:
Just texted Gary West, asking if he’ll appeal the bizarre DQ of original Ky Derby winner Maximum Security: ‘I have to study the film and review my legal options. I won’t know anything for a couple of days – but I might.’
— Bryce Miller (@Bryce_A_Miller) May 5, 2019
Just talked with Maximum Security’s trainer, Jason Servis, and owner, Gary West. Both indicated that they will purse any available appeals to protest the disqualification of their horse.
— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) May 4, 2019
Gary West, the owner of the DQ’d Maximum Security and trainer Jason Servis, said they will look into any appeals to protest the DQ of their horse. “I have had 50 phone calls — some from people that don’t even like me — and they said this was a pretty bum deal,” West said.
— Tim Wilkin (@tjwilkin) May 5, 2019
President Trump weighed in Sunday morning:
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