Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Brought By Owners of Maximum Security

(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.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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