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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Maximum Security crossed the finish line first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. What happened next set horse racing off on a yearlong odyssey of chaos: from a historic DQ to doping, from lawsuits to a pandemic, and now a Triple Crown turned upside down.
Maximum Security won the $150,000 San Diego Handicap by a nose after a photo finish at Del Mar, his first start in five months for new trainer Bob Baffert.
Owner Gary West is removing all of his horses from Jason Servis’ barn after the trainer was indicted on multiple counts of administering illegal substances and performance-enhancing drugs.
Maximum Security jockey Luis Saez has appealed his 15-day suspension by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. He says the stewards’ penalty for failing to control the horse in the Kentucky Derby is “unduly harsh and not supportable by facts and law.” The rider also seeks to stay his suspension pending appeal to fulfill riding commitments. Stewards disqualified Maximum Security from first to 17th in the Derby and suspended Saez from May 23 to June 14.
The owners of Maximum Security have sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and stewards, seeking to reverse the horse’s disqualification for interference as Kentucky Derby winner and restoration of purse money. The lawsuit filed by Gary and Mary West says that stewards relied on insubstantial evidence and questioned a “bizarre and unconstitutional” process before and after the disqualification. Maximum Security was disqualified to 17th while Country House, a 65-1 shot, was elevated to first.
Kentucky Derby winner Country House won’t run in the Preakness because of illness. Trainer Bill Mott says the long shot winner of horse racing’s biggest event is no longer being considered for the second jewel of the Triple Crown. After the horse started coughing, blood work showed he was harboring some sort of virus. Country House’s absence at the Preakness means there won’t be a third Triple Crown winner in five years. The 1 3/16-mile Preakness is May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
A weary Maximum Security has arrived at Monmouth Park, where his trainer plans to race the colt in the $1 million Haskell Invitational in July. The first Kentucky Derby winner disqualified for interference in the race’s 145-year history arrived at the Jersey shore track shortly before 6 a.m. He was walked and then put in a stall to rest. Said assistant trainer Matt Hartman: “He’s really tired. It’s been a long week.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Maximum Security’s owner said Monday he will not run the horse in the Preakness and will appeal the disqualification as the Kentucky Derby winner. Gary West said by phone to The Associated Press that there is “really no need, not having an opportunity to run for the Triple Crown to run a horse back in two weeks.”
Taken down as the Kentucky Derby winner, Maximum Security is now out of the Preakness.
Maximum Security became the first winner disqualified for interference in the Kentucky Derby. That led to an agonizing wait and an eventual stunning reversal that made 65-1 shot Country House the winner. Country House finished second in the slop before an objection was raised. He was elevated into the winner’s circle after a lengthy delay. That gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first Derby victory at age 65.
Maximum Security is at the other end of the fiscal spectrum of horse racing. While owners frequently pay a royal ransom to acquire a horse with potential to win the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security could have been claimed for the bargain basement price of $16,000 last year.
Many options await in the Kentucky Derby, but in the end, Maximum Security will get the job done.
The new favorite enters the Kentucky Derby unbeaten and tops several contenders on modest winning streaks that could factor large in the sport’s marquee race. Game Winner is the favorite to win after Omaha Beach was scratched. He has already won more than $1 million and seeks a bigger payday of $1.86 million. Game Winner is among a trio of horses trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. The challenge in the 145th running is beating 19 others over 1 1/4 mile in the longest race of their careers.
BOISE – Idaho’s maximum security prison marked its 20th anniversary Thursday, with two of its units sitting vacant. It’s not that Idaho doesn’t have enough prisoners – it’s short on money. Inmates have been shifted to the cheapest beds available, like those down the road at the privately operated Idaho Correctional Center, where many of the inmates are housed dorm-style in huge rooms with rows of bunk beds and open toilets.