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.
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 TVG.com.
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.
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.