U.S. NEWS

Kentucky Derby First-Place Finisher Maximum Security Loses Win In Historic Disqualification

Second-place horse, 65-1 longshot Country House, grabs victory after judges rule Maximum Security impeded other horses during the race.
Country House, the second horse to cross the finish line, was declared winner of the Kentucky Derby.
Country House, the second horse to cross the finish line, was declared winner of the Kentucky Derby.

After an emotional Kentucky Derby victory by the undefeated Maximum Security, his win was yanked away after race officials determined he had impeded the path of other horses. It was the first time in Derby history a winner has been disqualified due to a foul.

Country House, a 65-1 longshot who finished second, was deemed the official winner of the 145th Kentucky Derby about 20 minutes after the end of the race.

Country House was the second-longest shot to ever win the Derby. Maximum Security was moved to 17th place of the 19-horse field after appearing to win by one-and-three-fourth lengths.

Maximum Security, the only undefeated horse on the field, led the Churchill Downs pack throughout the race on a muddy, rain-soaked track. At one point around the turn to the top of the final stretch he swerved to the right from his path along the rail and appeared to cause War of Will and possibly others to veer. An objection was filed at the end of the race, apparently by Country House and third-place finisher Code of Honor, who moved up to second place after Maximum Security’s disqualification. Tacitus moved up to third place.

Panamanian jockey Luis Saez, 26, was thrilled by the win as he spoke on live TV. Maximum Security’s emotional trainer, Jason Servis, thought he had racked up his first Derby victory in only his second appearance. He was looking forward to calling his brother, John, who won the 2004 Derby with Smarty Jones. They would have been the only siblings to win the Derby. 

Country House’s win gave trainer Bill Mott his first Kentucky Derby victory in 10 starts. “There was definitely a foul in the race,” he said. But after he took the win, he added: “It was an odd way to do it and we hate to back into these things. It was a bittersweet victory.” 

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