LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The owners of Maximum Security, the colt who crossed the finish line first but was disqualified to 17th in the Kentucky Derby for veering into the paths of competitors, have filed a federal lawsuit to try to overturn the official race result and claim the purse money for a first-place finish.
Gary and Mary West filed the suit in the Eastern District of Kentucky in Frankfort late Tuesday, seeking to have the original order of finish restored, purse monies redistributed and two state regulations related to stewards’ rulings and appeals declared unconstitutional as being in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
"There is no substantial evidence to support the Stewards’ conclusion that Maximum Security committed a foul during the running of the Derby," the suit maintains, while adding, "There is no substantial evidence that even if Maximum Security had committed a foul, the foul altered the order of finish and/or denied any of the horses allegedly impacted by the alleged foul a better placement in the order of finish."
In the complaint, the Wests allege that during the 22-minute deliberation after the finish of the Kentucky Derby, stewards set aside the claim of foul by Country House jockey Flavian Prat as without merit, but upheld a later objection by jockey Jon Court, aboard Long Range Toddy, which was filed afterward.
Country House was named the official winner of the race after Maximum Security was disqualified.
The suit says in a conversation with stewards, Maximum Security trainer Jason Servis wasn’t told of Court’s objection, nor did the official race chart reflect it until four days later, when the suit alleges that stewards directed Equibase to amend the official chart.
Morever, the suit alleges that when stewards said they “interviewed affected riders,” they were incorrect, having not interviewed War of Will jockey Tyler Gaffalione, nor Bodexpress jockey Chris Landeros, neither of whom filed objections.
The suit comes after the Wests went to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission seeking to appeal the stewards' decision, only to be rebuffed by a letter saying they were not entitled to an appeal and that stewards’ decisions are final.
The suit, which represents only one side of a legal argument, names the racing commission, its individual members and the individual stewards involved in the race.
The racing commission declined comment, citing a policy of not commenting on current litigation.
This story will be updated.
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