2019 Kentucky Derby

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

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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 TVG.com.

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.

Country House will not run in Preakness Stakes

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Kentucky Derby winner Country House won’t be attempting a Triple Crown run this year after coughing and showing signs of a burgeoning illness, Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form reports. Assistant trainer Riley Mott confirmed to the Associated Press that the 3-year-old colt will not race in the Preakness Stakes on May 18.

Still at Churchill Downs, trainer Bill Mott told Privman that Country House, who was named the 145th Kentucky Derby winner after the historic disqualification of Maximum Security, was pulled off his training list: “If he’s off the training list, he’s off the Preakness list.”

“It’s probably a little viral thing,” Mott also told Privman. “Hopefully it doesn’t develop into anything serious. Usually when something like this happens, a horse misses a couple weeks of training. He’s not seriously sick right now. But he’s showing indications that something is going on.”

It’s been quite a week for Country House. The 65-1 long shot colt was the second over the wire at Churchill on Saturday, but was elevated to first after track stewards determined Maximum Security had impeded several other horses in the field. On Monday, trainer Jason Servis announced that Maximum Security would also skip the Preakness.

This was the first time in the Kentucky Derby’s 145-year history that the winner was disqualified on site. Dancer’s Image, the first horse to finish in 1968, was disqualified long after the race ended for having too much phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug, in his system.

Mike Tirico sorts through chaotic Kentucky Derby with Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey

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Country House’s historic win at the 145th Kentucky Derby sent shock waves around the country and forever impacted horse racing.

The 65-1 long shot crossed the wire second but was declared the winner after Maximum Security, who finished over a length ahead, was disqualified by race stewards for moving out of his lane and impeding several other horses.

Mike Tirico, the host of the 145th Kentucky Derby, invited NBC horse racing analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey onto The Mike Tirico Podcast to sort out all the chaos.

“Think of a five-lane highway,” Tirico explained. “Maximum Security’s in the left lane without a blinker and comes over to the middle lane. Those cars either have to check up really quick, which sometimes causes a crash, or they get bumped or nicked and they crash.”

Retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey went on to say that there were some potentially unavoidable factors: horses are thousand-pound animals with minds of their own. However, he believes Maximum Security’s jockey Luis Saez reacted quickly, but not quick enough.

As Bailey explained, racing stewards—the rule enforcers—can press the inquiry button to open an investigation into anything they think may have been against the rules. Part of the chaos from Saturday’s race came from the stewards not flagging the incident. The stewards went on to cancel a post-race interview with NBC and didn’t take any questions after holding a press conference about the decision, which is representative of a bigger transparency issue in American horse racing.

Looking beyond the controversy, the three analyzed the run that put underdog Country House just behind Maximum Security. After breaking well and settling in mid-pack, Bailey said the deep closer found himself in prime position to come from behind.

“I was particularly impressed by his maturity and improvement,” he added.

Coming off of three starts in seven weeks, Moss wondered how Country House will run in the Preakness after a short, two-week turnaround. With other top Derby horses passing on the second leg of the Triple Crown, Tirico looked ahead to the possibility of a rematch between Country House, Maximum Security and even early favorite Omaha Beach, who scratched after an entrapped epiglottis impacted his breathing.

‘We’ve had two Triple Crowns in the last four years, and this might be the most talked about Kentucky Derby in 20 years,” Bailey concluded.