Maximum Security Owners Sue Commission Over Kentucky Derby Disqualification

The drama surrounding the historic 145th Kentucky Derby doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.

Maximum Security owners Gary and Mary West are suing the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission over the disqualification of their horse following the May 4 race. The two filed the lawsuit late Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Frankfort, Ky., calling the disqualification process “bizarre and unconstitutional.”

This year’s Derby came to a wild conclusion after a lengthy video review led to the eventual disqualification of the first-ranked horse. Race officials determined jockey Luis Saez bumped into War of Will at one point during the race, leading that horse to bump into another competitor, Country House.

Country House, which originally placed second in the race, subsequently was crowned the winner.

Saez, on the other hand, was suspended 15 racing days earlier this week for “failure to control his mount and make the proper effort to maintain a straight course thereby causing interference with several rivals.” (He likely will appeal.)

It also was the first time a horse had been disqualified from the Derby after crossing the line first.

In the lawsuit, the West’s request to have the Derby purse money (with the winner’s share estimated at $1.86 million this year) redistributed to them, Saez and trainer John Servis. They claim the lack of an appeals process after the match infringed on their right to due process, and filed a notice of intent to appeal with the commission May 6 that ultimately was denied.

Meanwhile, Country House and other fellow racers are preparing for the Preakness Stakes, which Maximum Security will not be participating in, and takes place May 18.

Thumbnail photo via Mark Zerof/USA TODAY Sports Images

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