One month after historic 2019 Kentucky Derby: Where are they now?


Exactly one month ago, Maximum Security crossed the Churchill Downs finish line first in a field of 21 elite Thoroughbreds. About 22 minutes later, Country House won the 145th Kentucky Derby.

To recap: Country House’s jockey first raised an objection against Maximum Security for drifting out of his “lane” coming around the homestretch turn and impeding the forward motion of several horses, most notably War of Will, who went on to win the 2019 Preakness Stakes two weeks later. Track stewards reviewed the footage and disqualified Maximum Security, which elevated Country House to first even though he finished over a length behind.

For the first time ever, the first horse to cross the wire at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May had been disqualified on-site. In 1968, Dancer’s Image failed a drug test and was disqualified long after the race ended.

Edzo explains Maximum Security’s disqualification

Back to June, and a handful of top 3-year-old Thoroughbreds from around the country are preparing for the 151st Belmont Stakes. But neither colt will be there. See what they and their connections are up to with one of the most controversial Kentucky Derby finishes a month behind them:

Maximum Security‘s owner announced the horse who crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby wouldn’t be running in the Preakness, since there wasn’t a Triple Crown on the line. He returned to his trainer’s barn at Monmouth Park in New Jersey where he was rested before picking his training back up. According to Bloodhorse, Maximum Security’s “next primary goal” is the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park later this summer, his owner told

Kentucky Derby Drama: What actually happened?

Days after the Kentucky Derby, official winner Country House started developing a cough, was pulled from training and subsequently didn’t run in the Preakness. Horse Racing Nation reports that Country House could make his first post-Derby appearance at Saratoga. His trainer Bill Mott mentioned the G2 Jim Dandy to the New York Racing Association Press Office.

While neither horse has run since the first Saturday in May, their human connections have been busy.

Lost in the chaos of the historic disqualification, Country House’s trainer Bill Mott also had the 3rd place horse Tacitus (ran 4th, elevated to 3rd). The gray colt is set to run in the Belmont with jockey Jose Ortiz aboard once again.

What to know about the 151st Belmont Stakes

Maximum Security’s jockey Luis Saez was given a 15-day suspension from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which he later appealed. He is expected to ride Preakness runner up Everfast in the 2019 Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Flavien Pratt, Country House’s jockey and the first to raise an objection against Maximum Security, didn’t ride in the Preakness and isn’t expected to ride in the Belmont either. Maximum Security’s trainer Jason Servis also sat out the Preakness and isn’t expected to field a horse in the Belmont.

Owner Gary West still has a bone to pick with Maximum Security’s Kentucky Derby competitors. He issued a challenge to the horses impeded by his colt (Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy, Bodexpress), claiming he would pay owners $5 million if their horse could beat his before the end of the year.

Watch the 2019 Belmont Stakes only on NBC and NBCSN. Coverage on NBCSN begins Friday, June 7 at 5 p.m. for the Belmont Gold Cup and continues on Saturday, June 8 at 2:30 p.m. before moving to NBC at 4 p.m. Post time is set for approximately 6:38 p.m. See the full broadcast schedule here.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”

Fractional interest in Flightline sells for $4.6 million

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland says a 2.5% fractional interest in Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Flightline has sold for $4.6 million during a special auction before the start of its November Breeding Stock Sale.

Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, the track announced in a release. The sale comes a day after ownership of the 4-year-old son of Tapit retired the unbeaten colt following his record 8\-length victory in Saturday’s $6 million, Grade 1 Classic at Keeneland. Flightline likely locked up Horse of the Year honors with his fourth Grade 1 victory in six starts by a combined victory margin of 71 lengths – dominance that has drawn comparisons to legendary Triple Crown champion Secretariat.

Flightline will begin his breeding career next year at Lane’s End Farms in Versailles, Kentucky, but a stud fee has yet to be determined. West Point Thoroughbreds, part of the bay colt’s ownership, offered the fractional interest. Seitz said the buyer wanted to “make a big splash” and get more involved in the business.

“With a special horse like (Flightline) all you can do is get involved and then just hope for the best,” Seitz said in the release.

“There has never been a horse that has done what he has done for however many years, back to Secretariat. You just have to pay up and get involved, and this is kind of what he’s thinking.”