Incidents and Disqualifications in the Kentucky Derby

Incidents and Disqualifications in the Kentucky Derby

By US Racing Team

Despite its justified reputation as a roughly run race, the Kentucky Derby overall has been largely free of riding infractions, fouls and interference. There have only been a few incidents worth investigating by stewards.

Four years ago, Gary and Mary West’s homebred Maximum Security became the first horse actually disqualified from a win during the running of the race for causing interference f the 1 ¼-mile race. The colt, who at the time was trained by Jason Servis and ridden by Luis Saez, crossed the finish line first with Country House checking in second. Jockeys Flavien Prat, who was aboard Country House, and Jon Court aboard 17th-place finisher Long Range Toddy, lodged objections against Maximum Security and Saez. The riders complained that the colt took a hard right turn at the quarter pole, taking several horses who were contending out of the picture for the win.

Maximum Security Pacific classic

Maximum Security – Courtesy of Benoit Photo

After a 20-plus minute examination of the incident, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards determined that Maximum Security drifted towards the outside while leaving the final turn and negatively affected rivals War of Will (8th), and, in turn, interfered with Long Range Toddy (17th) and Bodexpress (14th). Maximum Security was disqualified from first and placed 17th behind the lowest-placed horse that he interfered with, Long Range Toddy.

Racing fans would have to go all the way back to 2001 to recall another incident during the Run for the Roses. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who was aboard second-place finisher Invisible Ink, lodged a claim of foul against jockey Jorge Chavez, aboard the winner Monarchos, for alleged interference at the quarter pole. The objection was dismissed by the stewards.

In 1984, fourth-place finisher Gate Dancer, ridden by Hall of Famer Eddie Delahoussaye, was disqualified by the stewards for interference in the stretch against Fali Time, who was ridden by Sandy Hawley. Gate Dancer was placed fifth behind Fali Time, who was bumped up to fourth.

As soon as the race was over in 1975, stewards at Churchill Downs announced an inquiry involving a bumping between runner-up Avatar, ridden by Bill Shoemaker, and third-place finisher Diabolo with Laffit Pincay Jr. in the irons. Foolish Pleasure, who won the race, was not involved. The decision was made not to change the order, since Diabolo was judged to be not at fault.

In 1968, Dancer’s Image finished in front of Forward Pass for the win, but due to a post-race medication positive of phenylbutazone (the anti-inflammatory known as Bute) from Dancer’s Image, the Kentucky State Racing Commission disqualified the horse and ordered the purse be redistributed, naming Forward Pass as the official winner. Second-place money went to Francie’s Hat, third-place money went to T.V. Commercial and fourth-place money went to Kentucky Sherry. For nearly a year, the case wound its way through the court system and in April 1972 the state of Kentucky’s highest court finalized the stewards rulings.

Other incidents in the Kentucky Derby

Jockey Bill Boland, who rode runner-up Sword Dancer in 1959, lodged a claim of foul against Tomy Lee, who won by a nice under Bill Shoemaker, for alleged bumping down the lane. The stewards ruled Boland and Sword Dancer as the cause and the objection was dismissed.

The famous “Fighting Finish” Derby was in 1933. The maiden Brokers Tip, ridden by Don Meade, came up the rail and defeated Head Play by a nose. Herb Fisher, aboard Head Play, lodged a claim of foul against the winner, but it was dismissed after the stewards conferred briefly.

Wallace Lowry of the Louisville Courier-Journal was lying on the ground just under the rail that day and snapped one of the most famous photographs in the history of the Derby – an image that shows Meade and Fisher holding onto each other as they neared the finish line.

Jimmy Lakeland, the rider of runner-up Kimball in 1880, lodged a claim of foul against the winner, Fonso. The objection was dismissed by stewards.

In 2021, Medina Spirit crossed the finish line in front but a post-race blood test revealed the presence of the banned substance betamethazone. His trainer, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, maintained the positive was from a cream the horses was treated with for a skin rash, but after a lengthy court battle and the absolute insurer rule applying to all trainers, Medina Spirit was disqualified and runner-up Mandaloun declared the winner.

Kentucky Derby 2023 Odds

PP Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Odds
1 Hit Show Franco Brad H. Cox West, Gary and Mary 30-1
2 Verifying Gaffalione Brad H. Cox Poulin, Jonathan, Westerberg, Magnier, Mrs. John, Smith, Derrick and Tabor, Michael B. 15-1
3 Two Phil’s Loveberry Larry Rivelli Patricia’s Hope LLC and Sagan, Phillip 12-1
4 Conficence Game Graham J. Keith Desormeaux Don’t Tell My Wife Stables 20-1
5 Tapit Trice Saez Todd A. Pletcher Whisper Hill Farm, LLC and Gainesway Stable (Antony Beck) 5-1
6 Kinkngbarns J. Ortiz Todd A. Pletcher Spendthrift Farm LLC 12-1
7 Reincartnate Velazquez Tim Yakteen SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Masterson, Robert E., Stonestreet Stables LLC, Schoenfarber, Jay A., Waves Edge Capital LLC and Donovan, Catherine 50-1
8 Mage Castellano Gustavo Delgado OGMA Investments, LLC, Restrepo, Ramiro, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH 15-1
SCR Skinner Hernandez John A. Shirreffs C R K Stable 20-1
SCR Practical Move Vazquez Tim Yakteen Amestoy, Jr., Pierre Jean, Amestoy, Leslie A. and Beasley, Roger K. SCR
9 Disarm Rosario Steven M. Asmussen Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC 30/1
10 Jace’s Road Geroux Brad H. Cox West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stables LLC 15-1
11 Sun Thunder Hernandez Jr Kenneth G. McPeek R.T Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine 30-1
12 Angel Of Empire Prat Brad H. Cox Albaugh Family Stables LLC 8-1
13 Forte I. Ortiz JR. Todd A. Pletcher Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable 3-1
14 Raise Can Corrales Ben Colebrook Warren, Andrew and Warren, Rania 15-1
15 Derma Sotogake Lemaire Hidetaka Otonashi Hiroyuki Asanuma 10-1
16 Rocket Can Alvarado William I. Mott Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc. 15-1
SCR Lord Miles Lopez Todd A. Pletcher Vegso Racing Stable 30-1
17 Continuar Sakai Yoshito Yahagi Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd. 50-1
18 Cyclone Mischief J. Rosario D. Romans Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Castleton Lyons. 30-1
19 Mandarin Hero Kazushi Kimura Terunobu Fujita Hiroaki Arai. 20-1
20 King Russell Rafael Bejarano Ron Moquett Hiroaki Arai. 50-1
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