Disqualified Kentucky Derby “winner” offers $20M to rivals

The owner of Maximum Security wants a rematch. The horse finished first at the Kentucky Derby earlier this month but was famously disqualified, and now owner Gary West is offering $5 million to the owners of four of its rivals.

West is extending the offer to Long Range Toddy, War of Will, Bodexpress and Derby winner Country House, bringing the total to $20 million. The horses don’t even need to win to collect the money — they just need to beat Maximum Security before the end of the year.

“Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby,” West said in a statement. “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.”

Flavien Prat on Country House, left, races against Luis Saez on Maximum Security, second from right, during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019. John Minchillo / AP

West, of course, wants the owners of the four horses to pay him the same amount if Maximum Security comes out on top. He says he would donate his winnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

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According to West, if none of the owners are willing to take on his challenge, he will still donate 10% of Maximum Security’s future lifetime racing earnings to the nonprofit, which provides financial aid to jockeys who experienced severe injuries while competing as well as their families.

“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,” he said.

Maximum Security was unanimously disqualified after finishing first May 4 at the Kentucky Derby . The horse moved out of his lane coming out of the final turn, getting in the way of Long Range Toddy and Country House.

Country House became the winner of the $3 million prize. It was the first time in the race’s 145-year history that an objection led to the winner being stripped of their title.

On Monday, West and his wife Mary, who also co-owns the horse, filed an appeal with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. But late in the day, the commission rejected the appeal, confirming Country House’s place in the record books.

The 144th Preakness Stakes takes place Saturday, but none of the top three finishers of the Kentucky Derby are participating.

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