LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky horse racing stewards have suspended jockey Luis Saez for 15 days for his actions aboard Maximum Security, who was disqualified after finishing first in the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
The ruling handed down Sunday bars Saez from riding at Churchill Downs through June 14 for "failure to control his mount and make the proper effort to maintain a straight course thereby causing interference with several rivals that resulted in the disqualification of his mount."
Saez met with the stewards, who administer the state's racing rules, last Friday at Churchill.
Ann Oldfather, Saez's attorney, said Monday she would challenge that ruling and ask for a hearing in the next 10 days before the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
"The stewards' decision to suspend Luis Saez is unsupported," she said in a statement, "and we do intend to appeal the unsupportable suspension."
Replays of the race appear to show Maximum Security moving toward the center of the track as he rounded the far turn in the Derby, nearly clipping heels with War of Will behind him.
Jon Court, who rode Long Range Toddy, and Country House jockey Flavien Prat lodged objections after the race, claiming interference by Maximum Security near the top of the stretch.
Kentucky's chief steward, Barbara Borden, said officials reviewed the race and determined that Maximum Security "impacted the progress" of War of Will and interfered with Long Range Toddy and another horse, Bodexpress.
As a result, they disqualified Maximum Security and made second-place finisher Country House the winner. It was the first time in the Derby's 145 years that a winning horse was disqualified due to an objection or stewards' inquiry.
Maximum Security owners Gary and Mary West tried to appeal the ruling last week to the state racing commission, but the agency’s general counsel denied it. Kentucky regulations say the stewards' decisions are final and can't be contested.
Gary West has indicated he may file a lawsuit over the decision.