Dear Crabby, What Happened in the Kentucky Derby?

Dear Crabby, For the First Time Ever the Winner in the Kentucky Derby was Disqualified, What Happened?

Sincerely, Holden Al Tickets


Dear Mr. Tickets,

And down the stretch they come … there can be only one winner … but not necessarily. For the first time in 145 runnings of the Kentucky Derby, the winner, Maximum Security, was disqualified – otherwise known as a DQ. It’s actually a surprise that this is the first time in all those years this has happened. This kind of “objection” comes up a lot in everyday horse racing, and it’s not uncommon at all to DQ a horse and rider. But was it the right call?

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Horse industry people say “yes” but race fans say “no.” What’s for sure is the controversial way the stewards and Churchill Downs handled the call. It took 22 minutes for the three stewards to make a decision after the “objection” was placed. They took a fair amount of time – they want to get it right, it’s the Kentucky Derby after all – after interviewing all the jockeys involved. And after reviewing the tape, they made the call that Maximum Security veered out of his lane, cut off horses, and even after racing across the finish line first, should be disqualified from the win. So, second place (County House) becomes the new winner.

Normally, an “inquiry” is posted when this happens, which tells the crowd (for the Derby that’s 170,000 fans) that an official ruling is pending. But this didn’t happen, leaving the fans to question what was going on. Also, their full explanation didn’t come until after the day’s last race, almost two hours after the Derby and long after TV coverage was over. The stewards made a statement, but did not take questions. While the statement was late, it was common and understandable for those in the industry. But with a sport that most people only pay attention to once per year, they could have done better.

Since that decision, additional video footage has been presented showing Country House veering in and pushing horses towards Maximum Security and creating the argument that is why Maximum Security veered out. Some would say the new winner was actually the root of the problem and the stewards took the win away from the true winner. But as in any sport, the sport officials make the best call they can with the information they have in front of them at the moment. Not all calls from the sidelines are right. But we have to have someone make the call within a certain amount of time in any sport.

So, who is the real winner? Everyone who had money on County House, a 65-1 long shot, that’s who! While I think Maximum Security is the true winner – it’s a horse race – better luck next time.

And that’s what happened in the Kentucky Derby.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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