65-1 longshot Country House wins Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security is disqualified

Luis Saez rides Maximum Security, right, across the finish line ahead of Country House and jockey Flavien Prat, left, 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.


By JOHN CHERWA | Los Angeles Times | Published: May 4, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the most incredible post-running of the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security was disqualified for interference on Saturday and Country Home was declared the winner of the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby.

It was the first disqualification in the history of the race.

The stewards said that Maximum Security came off his line and impeded War of Will.

Country House, the second longest shot at 65-1 to win the Derby, was ridden by Southern California regular Flavien Prat. Interestingly, Prat was the regular rider of Omaha Beach before he elected to take another ride well before the Derby.

It also gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first Kentucky Derby win.

Maximum Security trainer Jason Servis had, at least for a few minutes, joined his brother John as a winner of the Kentucky Derby. John Servis won with Smarty Jones in 2004.

Maximum Security finished first by 13/4 lengths. His performance was exceptional in that he was able to survive very fast early fractions and still have enough left at the end. The first quarter mile went in 23.31 seconds and the half in 46.35.

Trainer Bob Baffert had three horses in the race and all were expected to give a good run, but it didn’t happen.

Improbable finished fourth, Game Winner was fifth and Roadster was 16th.

Country Home paid $132.40 to win, $56.60 to place and $24.60 to show after overcoming 65-1 odds to win. It’s the biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history since Donerail overcame even bigger odds to win the 1913 race.

After Maximum Security’s disqualification, Code of Honor was moved to second and Tacitus was third. The remainder of the field, in order, was Improbable, Game Winner, Master Fencer, War of Will, Plus Que Parfait, Win Win Win, Cutting Humor, By My Standards, Vekoma, Bodexpress, Long Range Toddy, Maximum Security, Spinoff and Gray Magician.

The complexion of the race changed dramatically on Wednesday when it was discovered that Omaha Beach had an entrapped epiglottis, a non-serious condition that was easily correctable but with a three-week recovery time. It would have hindered the horse’s breathing.

Baffert, who had been boasting all week that it was great to be at Churchill Downs without the pressure of being the favorite, suddenly was again the front-runner. The presumption was that Game Winner, loser of his last two races, but considered the strongest of Baffert’s three horses, would be the new favorite.

The bettors had made Improbable the favorite at 4-1 and Maximum Security was next at 9-2.

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