A 65-1 shot has won America’s famous Kentucky Derby after the horse that finished first was disqualified for interference – the first time that has happened in the race’s 145-year history.
The rider of the horse declared the winner – Country House – said he was “speechless”.
Gary West, co-owner of the horse that was disqualified, Maximum Security, described it as the “most egregious disqualification in the history of horse racing”.
Stewards spent about 20 minutes reviewing the showpiece event from several angles after it was claimed that Maximum Security, which crossed the line first, had interfered with the path of several horses on the home turn.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s chief steward, Barbara Borden, said the riders of Country House and Long Range Toddy lodged objections against Maximum Security.
“We interviewed affected riders,” Ms Borden said. “We determined that (Maximum Security) drifted out and impacted the progress of War of Will, in turn interfering with the 18 and 21. Those horses were all affected by the interference.”
Country House’s jockey, Flavien Prat, said he lost his “momentum round the turn”, telling NBC Sports: “I thought I was going to win and it kind of cost me.”
Conditions were not ideal – heavy rain on the dirt track at Churchill Downs meant the going was downgraded from fast to sloppy.
Mr West said there was little Maximum Security’s jockey – Luis Saez – could do to control his mount on a sloppy track.
“When you’re leg weary, you’re not going to run straight all the time,” he said. “Horses don’t either.”
But following the review Country House, which crossed the line in second place, was declared the winner.
It meant trainer Bill Mott got his first Derby victory at the age of 65, while Prat won his first Derby too.
“I’m kind of speechless right now. It’s a weird feeling, but it’s a good one,” Prat said. “No-one can describe that. It’s amazing.”
Bill Mott said it was an “odd way to do it” but it felt “pretty darn good”.
Maximum Security, which was the second favourite on 9-2, led all the way.
After Country House was declared the winner, Maximum Security was dropped to 17th place.
Code of Honor was moved up to second and Tacitus was third.
Source: SKY NEWS