Maximum Security's owner says he will appeal dismissal of Derby lawsuit

By Janet Patton on

Published in Horse Racing

The owner of Maximum Security said he will appeal last week's dismissal of his case challenging the Kentucky Derby disqualification.

Gary West said in a statement on Monday that Friday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell puts Kentucky's stewards above the law.

"Stewards' decisions are of momentous financial and intangible importance to owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, and the betting public. The transparency and reviewability of decisions by stewards is essential to the integrity of racing in America and is critical to the public's confidence in the sport," West said. "Sadly, the Court's Opinion allows secret deliberations by Kentucky's stewards that affect millions of people and billions of dollars to forever go unreviewable by any court; indeed, by anyone, no matter how negligent, reckless or nefarious such secretly-made decisions may be."

West said he has authorized his attorneys to immediately appeal. He challenged the disqualification by Kentucky racing stewards in the 2019 Kentucky Derby that elevated Country House to winner of the race.

The stewards ruled that Maximum Security veered out, interfering with at least two other horses.

He had asked the court to reinstate Maximum Security's win and to redistribute the $3 million purse.


"As important as it is to me to have a court review the stewards' disqualification of Maximum Security, this case has now become much bigger than that. It's now a case about Due Process and the fundamental fairness of how racing is conducted in Kentucky," West said in the statement.

"The secret and unreviewable actions by state actors that have been authorized by the Court's Opinion are the way things are done under totalitarian regimes in third world countries. The Kentucky State Racing Commission should be ashamed to have created a 'rule' like this; it is no wonder most people routinely question stewards' rulings on disqualifications. I, and nearly everyone, have been operating under the belief that in America 'Due Process' was an inalienable right. But that is simply not true in Kentucky racing."

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