Kentucky officials deny Maximum Security camp's Derby appeal

Kentucky officials deny Maximum Security camp's Derby appeal
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Will we see them in court?

On the same Monday afternoon owner Gary West enlisted Lexington, Ky., attorney Barry Stilz to appeal the results of the 145th Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission denied the request.

The KHRC’s grounds are simple: It considers all stewards’ decisions — such as the one that dropped West’s Maximum Security from first to 17th in the running order at Churchill Downs — to be final.

John Forgy, counsel for the KHRC, wrote that West isn’t entitled to a hearing because owners licensed in Kentucky agree “to abide by the Commission's rules and regulations,” including that stewards’ decisions can’t be challenged.

"Because there is no right to appeal a disqualification and the stewards' disqualification of Maximum Security is final," Forgy wrote, "your request for a stay is moot."

This saga still might not be over, as West indicated in the minutes following Saturday’s decision he’d seek legal action if necessary.

Earlier Monday, West’s racing manager, Ben Glass, said he was scheduled to travel back to Kentucky for a Thursday review of video from the Derby, in which Maximum Security was unanimously ruled from a group of three stewards to have impeded his rivals when he veered out while leading at the 5/16ths pole.

“It was a frivolous foul,” said Glass, who expected “an interesting morning” of discussions.

Glass said a number of factors would be argued on Maximum Security’s behalf, adding that “everything will be part of the appeal — right down to the no stewards’ inquiry sign, right down the objection not being filed until three minutes and 40 seconds after the race.

“No rider went to the outrider to claim a foul. That doesn’t make sense. You’re supposed to go to the outrider to claim a foul and he calls the stewards’ office. Nothing makes sense to me in this.”

Another focus for connections: The cause of Maximum Security’s veer outward. They believe that before Maximum Security made his move, War of Will ran up behind, potentially causing contact.

SEE IT: New video key in West's argument

In the appeal sent to Marc Guilfoil, executive director of the KHRC, the Wests request purse money to be paid to winner Country House’s camp be held and to see replays viewed by stewards, recordings of the review and statements made to stewards by jockeys who phoned in after the Derby.

Glass speculated stewards may not have viewed NBC footage showing close quarters racing between War of Will and Maximum Security through the far turn.

Guilfoil has not responded to a Horse Racing Nation request for comment but told The Pressbox’s Gene McLean on Sunday that “while the decision may have been unpopular, I can tell you that it was the absolute right call. It was the absolute correct call. And, I stand behind the stewards’ decision, 100%.

“Our stewards have extensive experience, both on horseback and in the steward’ stand. They made the absolute right decision.”

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