LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The owner of Maximum Security says his horse will not run in the Preakness, and he will appeal the disqualification in the Kentucky Derby.
Appearing on the Today Show, Gary West said there's no point in trying to run the horse in the Preakness. "There's no Triple Crown on the line for us, and there's no reason to run a horse back in two weeks, when you don't have to."
West also told the show that his team plans to file an appeal today with the state racing commission. "Right after the race, I had the trainer call the stewards and very nicely ask them if they would be willing to visit with us after the races were over. We said we would stay here until 11 or 12 o'clock at night, whatever you want. And they said absolutely not, we won't be showing the films until Thursday. So we didn't really have any alternative legally -- the appeal has to be filed within 48 hours."
He added that it's important enough to challenge the steward's decision. "I think this is something that's big enough that the entire racing world is looking at this, and I think they deserve an opportunity to really know what was going on."
West criticized the stewards, saying he was "a bit shocked and surprised" when they read a statement following the Derby and without taking questions from the media. "So they've been about as non-transparent with this thing as anything I've seen in my life."
West also called Churchill Downs a "greedy organization" for having 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby field, which he says puts horses in danger of being pushed around in the stretch. "They should have 14 horses like every other race."
Maximum Security was first to finish Saturday's muddy Derby before becoming the marquee race's first winner to be disqualified for interference. Stewards elevated runner-up Country House, a 65-1 long shot, to the winner's circle after determining that Maximum Security impeded his path and two others' exiting the final turn. Maximum Security was ultimately placed 17th of 19 horses after starting as the 9-2 second betting choice, ending his four-race winning streak.
Stewards cited a section of the rule that calls for disqualification if "a leading horse or any other horse in a race swerves or is ridden to either side so as to interfere with, intimidate, or impede any other horse or jockey."
Chief steward Barbara Borden said in a news conference that she and two other stewards interviewed riders and studied video replays of the incident during a 22-minute review after the finish. The stewards did not take questions from reporters.
The only other disqualification in the Derby occurred long after the race in 1968. First-place finisher Dancer's Image tested positive for a prohibited medication, and Kentucky state racing officials ordered the purse money to be redistributed. Forward Pass got the winner's share. A subsequent court challenge upheld the stewards' decision.
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