Kentucky Derby

Maximum Security owner offering $20 million to challenge Derby rivals to rematch

The historic and dramatic aftermath of Kentucky Derby 145, from disqualification to appeals

After Maximum Security and Luis Saez were disqualified from the 2019 Kentucky Derby victory, the allegations, appeals and discussion surrounding the objection continued. Here is a timeline of the Kentucky Derby aftermath. (Music: www.bensound.com)
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After Maximum Security and Luis Saez were disqualified from the 2019 Kentucky Derby victory, the allegations, appeals and discussion surrounding the objection continued. Here is a timeline of the Kentucky Derby aftermath. (Music: www.bensound.com)

The fallout from the Kentucky Derby controversy has added a new chapter: a proposed rematch with a hefty purse.

Gary West, owner of Maximum Security, is now offering up to $20 million to the owners of Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress if their horses finish ahead of his the next time the face off in a race this year, according to a press release from West’s spokesman. Country House won the Kentucky Derby earlier this month after Maximum Security was disqualified.

The horses could meet in the July 20 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, which is where Maximum Security will parade before fans on Saturday. However, West said the invitation is open to any race at any track with all of the horses or individually.

In the final Derby chart, War of Will was placed seventh, Bodexpress was placed 13th and Long Range Toddy was placed 16th.

West said his offer has no bearing on his horse’s disqualification and his challenge is to generate additional interest in the sport.

“I am doing this because I think it would be good for racing and a unique opportunity to bring more people into racing because of the elevated interest this would bring to the sport,” West said.

West would give $5 million apiece to each of the four horses if they finish ahead of Maximum Security. In return, West is asking owners to give him $5 million apiece if Maximum Security finishes ahead of their horse.

If all of the horses met in the same race, it would potentially be the most lucrative horse race in history, according to the release.

If any of the owners do not wish to put up $5 million for the challenge, he would extend the offer for $1.86 million instead, which was the winner’s share for the Derby.

West plans on donating Maximum Security’s winnings from the challenge to the Permanently Disabled Jockey’s Fund if his horse wins. Even if none of the other horse owners accept his challenge, West pledged to donate 10 percent of Maximum Security’s future lifetime earnings to the fund, which provides assistance to about 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.

“Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby,” West said. “I don’t care to discuss the controversy surrounding the events of the race and the disqualification of my horse at this time, but I firmly believe I have the best 3-year-old in the country and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”

See a playback of when Maximum Security drifted into the path of other horses on Churchill Downs' track during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

Earlier this week, Maximum Security’s owners sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and its members, staff and stewards. The lawsuit calls the horse’s disqualification as “bizarre and unconstitutional” and seeks to have the decision reversed.

West blamed War of Will for causing the interference during the Derby. War of Will’s owner later claimed Maximum Security cut his horse off twice.

Maximum Security’s jockey, Luis Saez, was suspended for 15 days for his ride in the Derby. Saez has appealed the suspension.

Ann Oldfather, attorney for jockey Luis Saez, gave this Kentucky Derby replay video to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards on Friday. The video was prepared to defend her client against potential disciplinary action by the stewards.

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