Kentucky Derby: Country House wins after Maximum Security disqualified

Chris Landeros aboard Bodexpress (left) races Luis Saez aboard Maximum Security (right) during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Maximum Security (right), ridden by Luis Saez, was disqualified for impeding other horses

Country House won the 2019 Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security became the first victor in the race's 145-year history to be disqualified on the day.

The favourite crossed the line first in front of 150,000 fans at Churchill Downs but was ruled to have impeded other horses in the $3m (£2.2m) race.

Maximum Security was disqualified after a stewards' inquiry lasting 20 minutes.

It left 65-1 outsider Country House, ridden by Flavian Prat for trainer Bill Mott, to be declared the winner.

The decision to strip Maximum Security of the victory was later criticised by US president Donald Trump, who blamed it on "political correctness".

"The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one," Trump tweeted.

"It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch," he added.

"Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby - not even close."

Country House is the second biggest-priced winner of the race, which is the first leg of US Flat racing's Triple Crown.

No horse had ever been disqualified immediately after winning the United States' biggest race - though Dancer's Image was stripped of the title in 1968 after a post-race test showed traces of a banned substance.

Maximum Security veered out of line on the final turn and impeded War of Will and Long Range Toddy.

It meant complaints were lodged and stewards reviewed footage and interviewed riders before announcing the disqualification.

As the controversial disqualification was announced, Maximum Security's rider Luis Saez - who had earlier been celebrating with trainer Jason Servis - put his head into his hands.

"It's a bittersweet victory but I've got to say our horse ran very well and our jockey rode very well," said 65-year-old trainer Mott after his first Kentucky Derby triumph.

The next step of the Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes on 18 May, followed by the Belmont Stakes on 8 June. Only 13 horses in history have won all three races with Justify doing so last year.

Top Stories