Kentucky Derby Controversy

Who figured this would ever happen?

Amazing as it seems, the replay issue which has affected virtually every sport imaginable struck one where it’s been common practice to look at the videotape.

The Kentucky Derby, the crown jewel of horse racing had a judgment controversy which knocked out the presumed winner.It was the first time it ever happened in the 145th Run for the Roses.

On a muddy track, Maximum Security appeared to win a wire-to-wire victory run despite being fiercely challenged throughout.

But near the stretch run, the horse moved from it’s inside rail position enough to impede another horse, ever so slightly, but also enough to affect Country House, which lodged the protest.

Horse races also over the country have been affected by stewards’ decisions since the beginning of time, but never in the Derby, with last Saturday’s disqualification of a horse that was clearly the superior entry.

Thus the big question. Do you rule on removing the apparent winner, as impressive as he was, which was seemingly the right decision, or do you simply anoint Maximum Security?

Maximum Security

Bill Mott, the legendary trainer of Country House said it best before the ruling. Mott pointed out that in any claiming race on any track in the nation, there would be a clear disqualification.

But at the Derby, that might not happen.

Mott was cool and calm during the post-race delay.
When the decision came down, Mott had finally captured his first Kentucky Derby.

To top it off, Country House won with the second-longest odds in Derby history, going off at 65-1.

The Moment of Truth


The horse with the longest odds to win the first of racing’s Triple Crown was Donerail, who won the 1913 Derby at 91-1.

What drama.

I’ve always been skeptical of the increased use of replay in sports.
But in horse racing, it is a common practice.

And yes, I agree with the final determination, even if the controversy will be the chief topic of conversation, and not the horse who won, whenever the 2019 Kentucky Derby is discussed.

So, in reality, the most exciting two minutes in sport was not the Run for the Roses, but the 20 minutes of agonizing time it took for the stewards at Churchill Downs to make history.

Country Horse


Do you have a corporate meeting or motivational group event coming up?
Book Dick Stockton for your next speaking engagement.