This Has Never Happened in the Kentucky Derby

First-place finisher is disqualified, giving victory to Country House
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 4, 2019 6:28 PM CDT
This Has Never Happened in the Kentucky Derby
Luis Saez rides Maximum Security, center, to an apparent victory, but the horse was later disqualified.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

For the first time in Kentucky Derby history, the horse that crossed the finish line first was disqualified, reports NBC News. As a result, a 65-1 long shot named Country House is the winner. Maximum Security led the entire race and finished first, more than a length ahead of Country House. But race officials reviewed video for about 20 minutes before changing the results, per the AP. The stunning outcome gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first Derby victory at age 65. Jockey Flavien Prat, who originated the claim of foul, also won his first Derby. Country House paid $132.40 to win—the second-highest payout in Derby history. It was a crushing turn of events for trainer Jason Servis and jockey Luis Saez, who already had begun celebrating what they thought were their first Derby victories.

Instead, Maximum Security was dropped to 17th of 19 horses. The colt was the 9-2 second choice in the wagering. Prat claimed that Maximum Security ducked out in the final turn and forced several horses to steady. War of Will came perilously close to clipping heels with Maximum Security, which could have caused a chain-reaction accident. The stewards reviewed race footage while keeping the crowd of 150,729 in suspense, clutching their betting tickets. Trainers and jockeys involved stared at the closest video screen waiting for a result. Code of Honor was moved up to second and Tacitus was third. (Read more Kentucky Derby stories.)

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