Brinkmeyer: Kentucky Derby disqualification the wrong call

May 05, 2019 10:45am

The last time an objection was filed with the stewards in the Kentucky Derby, it involved a claim of foul against a different Florida Derby winner, Monarchos, in 2011.

That day, stewards upheld the result. Maximum Security faced a different fate after 20 minutes of debate Saturday in a historic decision at Churchill Downs.

There are many ways to view this outcome, and the debate won't soon end. So did the stewards get it right?

For the objection to be determined viable, the stewards are tasked with proving that Maximum Security's path under jockey Luis Saez interfered or impeded with another horse’s path to such a degree that it hindered him from a better placing.

As we've seen far too often with instant replay in other major sporting events, it's worth discussing whether there's irrefutable evidence to that fact. Here, there is no question War of Will and Long Range Toddy were slowed as Maximum Security nudged off the rail leaving the far turn.

Kentucky's rule reads as follows:

"A leading horse if clear is entitled to any part of the track," the rule reads. "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 horse or jockey, or to cause the same result, this action shall be deemed a foul."

My problem with the outcome: The horse taken down from first to 17th by stewards did not appear to impact Country House, whose rider lodged the objection. Jon Court, aboard Long Range Toddy, also claimed foul.

But Tyler Gaffalione, riding closest to Maximum Security, did not lodge his own objection. If either of those riders avoided their claims, we could be talking about Maximum Security as the Kentucky Derby winner.

For the biggest event in the sport to be decided in the replay booth without overwhelming evidence to support it is, quite frankly, a disappointing way to end what is a months-long lead up to a two-minute race -- and goes against all the current major-league norms of replay review.

Maximum Security had gone from claimer to fame, looking to keep an unbeaten record in tact for longtime owners Gary and Mary West. Then the decision lingered. And lingered.

That's what we'll remember about this year's running: that the best horse did not win. And as we continue on to the second leg of the Triple Crown series, the May 18 Preakness Stakes, the conversation won't stop as to whether the right horse is running for a Triple Crown.

Respectfully, I think the answer is no.


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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer  


Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State, I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. It was there that my attraction to the Sport of Kings began. In the spring of 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance, and the tradition continues annually because there is no other city in the racing world like Louisville, Ky., on Derby Day.

Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, a champion's trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. It begins when 2-year-olds hit the track & continues until the field is set, the picks are in, and the roses are awarded. 

Twitter: @thederbypost

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