Gary West | Screenshot from “Today Show”


Racing commission denies Maximum Security owners’ Derby disqualification appeal

The Kentucky Derby has been the talk of the town since a controversial decision ousted Maximum Security from the race after he crossed the finish line first.

But the saga isn’t over.

One of the horse’s owners, Gary West, announced Monday morning on “The Today Show” on NBC that he would be appealing the stewards’ historic decision to disqualify. It was the first such disqualification in Derby’s 145 years.

Later on Monday, he did so. On Monday evening, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission swiftly denied the appeal, stating “the stewards’ disqualification determination is not subject to appeal and for the reasons set forth below, your request for an appeal is denied.”

Read the racing commission’s full ruling here.

“I think this is something that’s big enough that the entire racing world is looking at this and I think they deserve an opportunity to really know what’s going on,” West told “Today.”

Stewards agreed that during the final turn before the stretch, Maximum Security came off the rail and impeded the paths of three other horses.

Maximum Security running the Florida Derby. | Photo by Leslie Martin

The decision crowned second place horse, Country House, the official winner. According to The Associated Press, stewards cited a rule that calls for disqualification if “a leading horse or any other horse in a race swerves or is ridden to either side so as to interfere with, intimidate, or impede any other horse or jockey.”

“We had a lengthy review of the race,” Kentucky Horse Racing Commission chief steward Barbara Borden told The Associated Press in a statement. “We interviewed affected riders. We determined that (Maximum Security) drifted out and impacted the progress of War of Will, in turn interfering with the 18 and 21. Those horses were all affected by the interference.”

The appeal will be filed with the state racing commission in Kentucky. Whether the commission will actually consider the appeal is unclear.

West also said Maximum Security won’t run in the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, the second leg of the Triple Crown, on May 18. “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,” West told “Today.”

This post has been updated.