"Maximum Security" Not The First Horse To Be Disqualified After Winning

Published on May 9th, 2019 6:24 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel



A very close finish in a horse race. The disqualification of "Maximum Security" after the horse won the Kentucky Derby wasn't unprecedented, though it was unique in that the disqualification took place immediately after the race was completed.

Shortly after the sloppy, rain-splattered race was completed, other jockeys and owners complained that "Maximum Security" had impeded two other horses, "War of Will" and "Long Range Toddy", as he had rounded the final bend on the track.

After a great deal of back-and-forth between the stewards at Churchill Downs, the controversial decision was made - "Maximum Security" would be demoted to 17th place, and "Country House" would be declared the victor.

The stakes were massive - after all, the purse for the Kentucky Derby was $3 million, and the winner was set to receive nearly $2 million. The owners, jockey and trainer of "Maximum Security" were all set to make substantial sums of money if the original result held.

As 150,000 people waited impatiently in the crowd for a final result, stewards mulled over their decision. In total, 22 minutes were needed as stewards consulted, interviewed and pontificated. The decision was monumental, as tens of millions of dollars had been wagered on the event across the world.

After "Country House" was declared the victor, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to decry the ruling, saying that the better horse had not win the event. The owner for "Maximum Security" vows to take the matter to the courts.

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Winning horses will sometimes be disqualified after winning races, though it is very rare that a horse wins, only to be immediately stripped of the title.

In 1968, Dancer's Image won the Kentucky Derby, only to be stripped a few days later.

Dancer's Image was dealing with sore ankles before the race, so a veterinarian gave him a dose of phenylbutazone to relieve the inflammation. The veterinarian knew that the substance was banned, though he believed that it would be out of the horse's system by the time the race was ran. This didn't turn out to be the case, and Dancer's Image was stripped of the title the Tuesday after the race took place.

More controversy followed Dancer's Image at the 1968 Preakness Stakes a few weeks later, as he bumped another horse and was moved from third to eighth place after the race took place.

In 2018, Monomoy Girl was moved from first to second after drifting into another horse down the final stretch of the Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing.

In 2013, "She's A Tiger" was moved from first to second after edging away from the inside rail and bumping her rival. This incident took place at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.

In 2004, "Powerscourt" was moved from first to fourth after obstructing three other horses at the Arlington Million Stakes.

In 1984, Fran's Valentine was moved from 1st to 10th at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Hollywood Park after stewards ruled that she had bumped another horse during the back stretch of the race.

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As you can see, most disqualifications occur as a result of bumping or impeding another horse.

In rarer cases, horses are disqualified after testing positive from banned drugs.

The "Maximum Security" situation was fairly unique due to the fact that horses weren't actually bumped - instead, they were only impeded.

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