Commission denies Maximum Security disqualification appeal

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              Luis Saez rides Maximum Security, right, across the finish line first against Flavien Prat on Country House during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. Country House was declared the winner after Maximum Security was disqualified following a review by race stewards. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission didn’t take long to deny the appeal of Maximum Security’s disqualification as Kentucky Derby winner for interference, saying hours after it was filed Monday that the stewards’ decision is not subject to appeal.

The commission’s letter to attorney D. Barry Stilz, who filed the appeal of behalf of owners Gary and Mary West, also denied a request to stay the disqualification ruling pending appeal.

West said he was disappointed by the KHRC decision, but added the matter is not settled.

“Based on everything that has happened so far, I’m not surprised,” West told The Associated Press in a phone interview after the appeal was denied. “We’ll file suit in whatever the appropriate court is. I don’t know the answer to that, but the lawyers that I have retained will know what the appropriate venue is.”

Racing stewards disqualified Maximum Security after Saturday’s Kentucky Der by and elevated Country House to the winner’s circle following objections filed by two jockeys. Stewards determined Maximum Security impeded the paths of several horses in the race.

Maximum Security is the first Derby winner disqualified for interference in the race’s 145-year history.

The KHRC’s decision can after West’s legal team filed the appeal to the commission based in Lexington, Kentucky. The owner has acknowledged that the legal proceedings could take “months, if not years, down the road.”

The only other Derby disqualification was in 1968, and long after the race. First-place finisher Dancer’s Image tested positive for a prohibited medication, and Kentucky racing officials ordered the purse money to be redistributed. Forward Pass got the winner’s share. A subsequent court challenge upheld the stewards’ decision.

West also has said he would not run Maximum Security in the May 18 Preakness in Baltimore. Acknowledging the horse’s removal from Triple Crown consideration because of the disqualification, the owner said there is “really no need” to run a horse back in two weeks.”

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