65-1 Country House Wins Kentucky Derby Thanks to Disqualification

Posted on: May 4, 2019, 04:27h. 

Last updated on: May 4, 2019, 08:01h.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In a historic decision, 65-1 shot Country House won Kentucky Derby 145 Saturday after stewards at Churchill Downs disqualified apparent winner Maximum Security for interference.

Maximum Security (right) runs in front of War of Will as the horses come out of the final turn in the 145th Kentucky Derby. While Maximum Security would eventually cross the finish line first, Churchill Downs stewards eventually disqualified him and awarded the win to Country House (left). (Image: NBC Sports)

The ruling gave trainer Bill Mott his first Derby win and second Triple Crown win ever. However, that storyline will get pushed aside as horse racing fans and officials will debate what happened during the final turn of Saturday’s race.

Maximum Security took the lead at the start and held it throughout the backstretch. Coming out of the last turn, he drifted wide and into the path of War of Will, who was moving on the Jason Servis-trained colt’s outside.

Video replays showed the horses’ legs making contact as War of Will was pushed into Long Range Toddy, who lost significant traction. Country House was on the outside of those horses.

Maximum Security went on to cross the finish line first in 2:03.93, holding off Country House by a length-and-three-quarters on a sloppy track in rainy conditions.

However, both Country House’s jockey Flavien Prat and Jon Court, Long Range Toddy’s rider, filed an objection after the race.

“I thought he shifted out a lot,” Prat told reporters after the race. “And we had been slightly bothered in that incident and also the horse (Long Range Toddy) inside of me.”

The Payouts

Country House, the second-biggest long shot to win the Derby, ended up paying $132.40, $56.60 and $24.60. The ruling bumped Code of Honor from third to second. He paid $15.20 and $9.80. Tacitus, moved up to third, paid $5.60.

A $2 exacta paid $3,009.60. A 50-cent trifecta paid $5,737.65 and a $1 superfecta paid $51,400.10.

The Review

Chief Steward Barbara Borden told reporters they interviewed the affected riders and conducted an extensive review of the race. The investigation took 22 minutes after the finish of the race, but the three stewards ruled unanimously to disqualify Maximum Security and move him to 17th, one spot behind Long Range Toddy in the official results.

War of Will’s connections did not lodge an objection. However, the colt’s rider said Maximum Security’s move did have an impact on their chances.

I really thought I was going to win the Derby,” Tyler Gaffalione said. “I checked pretty hard when the seven came out as far as he did.”

Mott said a couple of horses lost a chance to win the Derby or at least hit the board because of the incident. With the worldwide audience watching and with millions of dollars in wagers on the line, something needed to happen.

“And I know the stewards had a very, very difficult decision,” Mott said. “I mean, I’m glad I wasn’t in their shoes.”

The Reaction

While this was the first time stewards placed the Derby winner, it is the second time there has been a disqualification. In 1968, Dancer’s Image won the Kentucky Derby – 51 years to the day Saturday – only to have the victory nullified two days later because of a failed drug test. Track officials declared Forward Pass the winner.

Luis Saez, Maximum Security’s jockey, said the noise coming from the infield likely served as the cause for the horse to veer away from the inside.

“I don’t think it changed the outcome of the race,” said Servis.

After the race, TwinSpires.com, Churchill Downs online wagering application, posted online it would refund winning bets on Maximum Security, good for up to $10.


Maximum Security went off as the second choice at 9-2. The disqualification had huge implications for the sportsbooks with action on the race.

According to Covers, the SuperBookUSA sportsbook in Las Vegas went from winning tens of thousands of dollars with a Maximum Security win to losing tens of thousands thanks to Country House. Earlier this week, the sportsbook had the named winner at 30-1 odds.