KY Racing Commission Files Motion Requesting Court to Dismiss Lawsuit of Gary & Mary West

(Maximum Security is lead back after crossing the finish line first in the 145th Kentucky Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

The Kentucky Racing Commission has filed a motion with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Lexington Division, requesting that the judiciary branch dismiss a lawsuit filed by Gary and Mary West following the disqualification of their horse, Maximum Security, in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

The Wests filed their original lawsuit on May 14, following Maximum Security’s disqualification from his winning effort in this year’s Derby. Their suit claimed that their “due process rights” were violated when the Kentucky Racing Commission denied the Wests’ appeal of the stewards Derby ruling.

It was the first time in the history of the Derby that a horse was disqualified for interference in the running of the world’s most prestigious race. Maximum Security, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby after racing wide into and out of the final turn, was disqualified after a lengthly review by the Stewards and placed 17th.

The Wests, in their lawsuit, requested that all “privileges to which they are or may be entitled as the official winner of the 145th Kentucky Derby.”

On Saturday, the Kentucky Racing Commission responded with their own legal documents, claiming the the Wests complaint is invalid because Kentucky regulations — which all starters and their connections must agree to in order to run in the Kentucky Derby — prevent any and all appeals of the Stewards’ final rulings.

The KHRC legal document claims that the Wests’ lawsuit is an “attempt to appeal the unappealable and to claim a property interest not recognized by Kentucky law.”

In the motion to dismiss, the KHRC also reads:

“The Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious horse race in the world. And horse racing may be the ‘sport of kings,’ but it is still that — a sport. As with every sport, it has rules to foster consistent, fair, and safe play, and neutral arbiters, ether called referees, umpires, judges — or in this case, stewards — who enforce those rules.”

It went on to read:

“…the Wests wants the Court to make the call and determine the winner of the Derby — a demand that threatens to transform the ‘most exciting two minutes in sports’ into tedious, protracted litigation.”


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
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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