The owner of the disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security said Monday that he would appeal the decision to the state racing commission and that his colt would not compete in the Preakness Stakes.
Gary West, who owns the colt with his wife, Mary, said racing stewards declined to meet with him after the race on Saturday to explain their reason for his colt’s disqualification.
West said that he would appeal to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Monday, but it is unclear if the commission has the authority to overrule the decision. Its regulations say “findings of fact and determination shall be final and not subject to appeal.” West stopped short of saying that he would file a court challenge.
“If the state racing commission refuses to hear about it, I think this is something that’s big enough that the entire racing world is looking at this,” West said in an interview on “The Today Show” on NBC. “And I think they deserve an opportunity to really know what was going on.”
Twenty-two minutes after Maximum Security appeared to be an emphatic winner of the 145th Derby, three stewards, horse racing’s version of referees, ruled that when the colt jumped a puddle he had impeded the progress of a rival, War of Will, almost knocking off that colt’s rider, Tyler Gaffalione.
That meant Maximum Security had committed a foul and could not be declared the winner. Instead, the runner-up, Country House, a 65-1 long shot, was declared the victor. His jockey, Flavien Prat, was one of two jockeys that prompted the stewards’ review when he complained of the rough riding.
Now, West said that he had no reason to run Maximum Security in the Preakness.
“I think there’s no Triple Crown on the line for us,” West said. “And there’s no reason to run a horse back in two weeks if you don’t have to.”
West also took aim at the racetrack, Churchill Downs, calling it a “greedy organization” for allowing a 20-horse field in the Kentucky Derby. Most prestigious races in America cap fields at 14 horses.
“Churchill Downs, because they’re a greedy organization, rather than 14 like you have in the Kentucky Oaks and the Breeder’s Cup and every other race in America, just because they can make more money, they’re willing to risk horses lives and people’s lives to do that,” he said.