Maximum Security ‘shied away’ from Derby crowd noise

April 24, 2019 10:56pm

Jockey Luis Saez explained in the moments after stewards knocked down his 2019 Kentucky Derby contender, Maximum Security, from a win to 17th what caused the colt to drift out a path or so and nearly into rival horses.

They say the field hits a wall of sound, with more than 150,000 in attendance Saturday at Churchill Downs.

“My horse shied away from the noise of the crowd and may have ducked out a little,” Saez said.

War of Will nearly clipped heels with Maximum Security as a result. The move, which happened as the leaders rounded off the turn, also shuffled Country House back to an eventual 16th-place finish, hence Maximum Security’s ultimate placing behind him.

Country House, who absorbed a bit of a bump, was placed the winner.

“I thought I never put anybody in danger,” Saez said.


Reporters surrounded connections who waited out the stewards’ decisions. As the crowd reacted to history — a Derby winner taken down the day of the race for the first time in the race’s 145 years — Maximum Security trainer Jason Servis shrugged.

“I feel bad for the owners — the Wests,” he said, meaning Gary and Mary, who also bred the front-running son of New Year’s Day.

Before the change was official, Servis had said, “It’s a long one. I don’t think that’s a good sign.”

And it wasn’t, at least not for those who backed the 4-1 betting favorite, who nearly extended his unbeaten record.

“I thought he kind of drifted out a little bit,” Servis said.

Bill Mott, who trains Country House and won his first Derby, added that, “My heart actually aches a little bit for them.”

Later, Mott provided more thoughts.

“I know the stewards had a very, very difficult decision,” he said. “I mean, I'm glad I wasn't in their shoes. I'm glad I didn't have to make the decision in front of over a hundred thousand people and the millions of people that are watching this on TV and around the world.

But with that being said, I'm damn glad they put our number up.”


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