‘A ticky tack call.’ Fans react to Kentucky Derby shake-up
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For several minutes at the Churchill Downs, Saturday, the crowd waited. It looked like Maximum Security, the favorite, had won. The horse was taking a victory lap and people were filtering out as ripped betting tickets fell from Millionaire’s Row.
That changed quickly. The crowd gasped as the number 20 jumped up to the top of the screen on the Jumbo-tron. Some dipped their heads in dismay, others threw up their arms in victory. Country House was named the winner over the loudspeaker.
“I feel absolutely zero guilt, whatsoever,” said Dave Ahmed, of Detroit, who won $1,325 on a $20 bet when Maximum Security was disqualified.
He said he bet on County House because it had run well in the mud in a previous race and was thrilled that his bet paid off.
The unusual win by County House ends a six-race streak of favorites winning the Derby.
Malcolm Settles, of Nashville, also bet on Country House because he ran well in the mud. He had given up and was on his way back to his car when he found out that Country House had been named the winner.
He raced back to collect his money.
Others felt cheated.
“Whoever he bopped wasn’t even in the race,” Stacy Brooks said. She and George Marler had bet on Maximum Security, but said they’d hold off their full judgment until they were able to rewatch the race at home.
“I hate it,” Marler said. “But they made the call, and they know what they’re doing.”
Michael Hitt also lost money because of the disqualification, but had different opinions about the call. He was walking away from the betting windows, visibly angry at the outcome.
“My personal opinion, that was a ticky-tack call, (No.) seven should’ve won ... I don’t think it was worthy of a disqualification,” Hitt said.
Alex Grimsley had bet on Maximum Security, but he took the outcome of the race in stride.
“It was someone else’s money,” Grimsley said. “So it was like, well, we didn’t have much to win or lose there.”