Country House wins Kentucky Derby after historic disqualification of Maximum Security
Longshot Country House crossed the finish line second at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday but was declared the winner after pre-race favorite Maximum Security was disqualified.
It was the first time a Derby winner was disqualified because of a foul on the track. In 1968, Dancer’s Image won but failed a drug test and was disqualified.
“(Country House) was traveling well the entire race. Once I got him outside and I started to make my move, Maximum Security kind of drifted out and kind of turned us sideways,” winning jockey Flavien Prat told reporters.
He said the two horses between them had more trouble but his horse felt the effect of Maximum Security’s move.
“I know the stewards had a very, very difficult decision and I’m glad I wasn’t in their shoes,” said trainer Bill Mott, who got his first Kentucky Derby win.
Country House had 65-to-1 odds.
Code of Honor moved to second.
“This was my dream. I just feel so glad,” Maximum Security jockey Luis Saez had told NBC after the apparent victory.
Saez said the horse had a good race until he got to the home stretch and the noise of the crowd of 150,729 fans unnerved the horse.
“He started getting a little bit scared,” Saez said. “But then I grabbed him and I controlled him. And I kept fighting because I know he’s a real fighter.”
It was there Maximum Security appeared to make contact with another horse.
Mott didn’t blame Saez, theorizing the horse drifted out on his own due to its inexperience.
Mott and Prat had to wait more than 15 minutes while race stewards watched replays of the race.
There were 19 horses in the field on a rainy day. The track conditions were listed as sloppy.
The next race in the Triple Crown series is May 18 — the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York, is June 8 at Belmont Park.