Maximum Security owner will appeal Kentucky Derby disqualification

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Longtime Owner Gary West Devastated

In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, West, speaking well before daybreak from his Rancho Santa Fe home, took strong issue with the decision and the race track.

“It was literally like the old TV show [‘Wide World of Sports’], the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all within a 22-minute period of time,” West said. “Winning it was probably the most euphoric thing [wife] Mary and I have ever had in our lives and then disappointment when they took him down for the first time in history. We were stunned, shocked and in total disbelief. It had never been done before.”

West’s strongest words were directed at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is the only major U.S. race that allows 20 starters. (Because of a scratch, there were 19 on Saturday.) Most major races in the U.S. are capped at 14 starters, either because of the width of the track or for the manageability of the race.

“Churchill Downs, because they are a greedy organization, [doesn’t run] 14 [in the Kentucky Derby] like you have in the Kentucky Oaks, Breeders Cup and just about every other race in America,” West said. “Just because they can make more money, they are willing to risk horses’ lives and peoples’ lives to do that. I’m not a fan of that. I think they ought to have 14 like every other race.”

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 15-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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