USA Today’s Bill Wolken was one of many not happy with the stewards’ Saturday decision.
Theyâ€™ll be talking about the result of this race from now until they run the next Kentucky Derby and the next 10 Kentucky Derbys and the next 20 Kentucky Derbys,â€ said Bill Mott, the trainer of Country House. â€œThereâ€™s always a lot of controversy in this sport, and weâ€™re probably going to be involved in it from now on, but you know, Iâ€™m going to take it.â€
Donâ€™t blame Mott for thinking that justice was done by taking down Maximum Security and placing him 17th due to an incident halfway around the final turn that compromised the chances of the two horses who were racing between Maximum Security and Country House. Mott, like every trainer who has been successful in this business, has been on both sides of these situations dozens of times. For him, itâ€™s just part of the business.
But thereâ€™s a reason the Derby, which is always a roughly run race with plenty of bumping and jostling throughout, has never had a winner disqualified due to interference: Unless the foul was egregious enough to clearly change the result, the horse that finished first under the wire should stand.
That standard wasnâ€™t met on Saturday. Not by a wide margin.
Personally, I agree, and I served as a Field Judge at Steeplechase Races in Virginia.
Lengthy and impartial analysis at Sports Illustrated.