(Maximum Security after this year’s KY Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
On Friday, a Federal Judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by owners Gary and Mary West after the disqualification of their Maximum Security following this year’s Kentucky Derby.
The Wests filed the lawsuit against the Kentucky Racing Commission, its’ executive director, Marc Guilfoil, and both Commission members and stewards in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky in May, soon after the running of the 145th Kentucky Derby.
Maximum Security finished first, but after an objection and a lengthly review of the video replays, the Stewards ruled that Maximum Security and his rider, Luis Saez, had caused interference at the top of the stretch that caused several horses to check, lose position and lose any chance of winning.
Maximum Security became the first disqualification for a racing infraction during the race in the history of the world’s most historic race. As a result, long shot Country House was elevated to first — giving trainer Bill Mott his first Derby winner.
Judge Karen Caldwell issued the opinion Friday in which she wrote:
“Kentucky’s regulations make clear that the disqualification is not subject to judicial review. Further, the disqualification procedure does not implicate an interest protected under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”
Caldwell went on to opine that Kentucky regulations state that the stewards’ decision in determining fouls and disqualifications of horses “is final and not subject to appeal.”
At this time, it is not known whether the Wests will appeal Caldwell’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals.