LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby, the winner of the race did not finish first.
Maximum Security, sent off as the tepid top choice at the 9-2, bolted to the early lead and held it all the way to the wire, seemingly winning the 145th run for the roses, finishing a few lengths ahead of longshot Country House.
However, an objection was immediately filed after the race, claiming Maximum Security impeded the run of another horse. Replay shows Maximum Security does step out from his line near the rail, veering in front of War of Will (who finished eighth).
Country House trainer Bill Mott acknowledged that his horse’s race was not impeded, but said that if this were a normal race on a Tuesday afternoon, Maximum Security’s win would be vacated and, as Mott noted, it shouldn’t matter if it’s a Tuesday afternoon race or the Kentucky Derby, they should all be judged the same.
The scene at Churchill Downs was surreal as the three stewards examined footage for more than 15 minutes, with jockeys, horses and their connections standing on the muddied track waiting for an official result.
In the century-plus long history of the race, no horse that finished first has ever had the run overturned. Until Saturday, when Maximum Security’s win was overturned.
With Maximum Security disqualified, the victory goes to the horse that finished second — Country House, which went off at 65-1, the second-largest longshot in the history of the race. Only Donerail at 91-1 in the 1913 Derby had longer odds.
Code of Honor wound up second, followed by Tacitus.