Country House Wins Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
Country House, a longshot at 65-1, won the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby after a rider's objection led to the disqualification of Maximum Security, who crossed the line first at Churchill Downs.
This was the first time the horse crossing the line first has been disqualified.
On a sloppy track under the Twin Spires, Maximum Security set the fractions and finished in a final time of 2:03.93. But on his way, coming off the turn the colt swung wide and was ruled to have impeded his rivals, nearly causing horses like War of Will and Long Range Toddy to clip heels.
Flavien Prat, the jockey aboard Country House, lodged an objection, which led to Country House's placing to first and a Derby score for Hall of Famer Bill Mott.
Code of Honor was second, Tacitus third and Improbable fourth.
Maximum Security moved to 17th in the final, official running order.
"I don't think it affected the outcome of the race," Jason Servis, who trains Maximum Security, said.
"I don't really like to win this way," Mott said. "I wish it was clean. I wish we pulled away and won by five and didn't have anything happening."
But before the call was made, Mott also said: "If it was a maiden claimer on a weekday, the winner would come down, and it's not supposed to matter - Kentucky Derby or whatever it is. There's a couple of riders that nearly clipped heels and went down in there."
Maximum Security had won all four races he had entered prior to Saturday.
Heavy rains leading up to post time led the track being downgraded from fast to sloppy.
2019 Kentucky Derby Results
2019 Kentucky Derby Post-Race Jockey Quotes
Flavien Prat, rider of Country House (1st) -"The race was great. He broke well and put me in the right spot. He was cruising the whole way. I was closer than I thought I would be and then when we hit the final turn, he was just dragging me. I moved him out and made a nice move at the quarter pole. Then, that horse just drifted out, kind of turned me sideways, and there were two horses inside of us. After that, I straightened up, he made a good move and that was it."
(On claiming foul) "It was a wide move and I thought they (the stewards) had to look at it. Like we said, it slightly bothered us, but it also bothered the two horses inside of us which is I thought they should look at it."
John Velazquez, rider of Code of Honor (2nd) - "My horse ran great. The rail opened up great for me. It was like `Open Sesame.' I was like "Wow, this never happens." I thought I was going to win it. He ran like a green horse down the stretch. He was definitely affected by what was happening to his outside."
Jose Ortiz, rider of Tacitus (3rd) - "My horse ran a huge race. We were a little unlucky since the pace didn't collapse. Those were good horses in the lead. Country House ran a huge race, too. My horse was digging in late. I had no excuse. In the Belmont, he will be much better running 1 1/2 miles."
Irad Ortiz Jr., rider of Improbable (4th) - "My horse didn't really like the track. I asked him to keep up and he just could not."
Joel Rosario, rider of Game Winner (5th) - "I thought he was going to be sharper at the gate. He broke OK but he stayed there for a little bit. I tried to push him a little early. I thought I was going to be OK because they were going fast at the beginning but he struggled the last three furlongs. He also had a little trouble with the track."
Julien Leparoux, rider of Master Fencer (JPN) (6th) - "I very much appreciate the connections of this horse for allowing me the opportunity to ride in the Derby."
Tyler Gaffalione, rider of War of Will (7th) - "I really thought I was going to win the Derby. I checked pretty hard when the seven (Maximum Security) came out as far as he did."
Ricardo Santana Jr., rider of Plus Que Parfait (8th) - "I thought my horse ran a solid effort. He may not have liked the surface."
Julian Pimentel, rider of Win Win Win (9th) - "We broke very well from the gate. I was in a great position but I don't think my horse handled the sloppy track. He tried to make progress but he was spinning over the ground."
Mike Smith, rider of Cutting Humor (10th) - "He ran good. He's a nice horse but he is still learning out there."
Javier Castellano, rider of Vekoma (12th) - "It just wasn't his day today."
Chris Landeros, rider of Bodexpress (13th) - "I was able to get into a good spot after breaking that far wide. We were in a good spot in the far turn but I had to check pretty hard after the seven (Maximum Security) came out."
Junior Alvarado, rider of Tax (14th) - "My horse was bothered by the splash in his face. He was not happy about that. He kept trying but he was focused on the mud being kicked in his face."
Florent Geroux, rider of Roadster (15th) - "I am disappointed to be honest. He broke all right but never traveled down the stretch the first time. He started picking up horses down the backside, but when I hit the half- mile pole, I was just out of horse. I am not sure if he didn't like the track but it felt like he never ran."
Jon Court, rider of Long Range Toddy (16th) - "Well, at least I am still the oldest rider ever to ride in the Derby. It was a lot of fun but I had to stop very abruptly."
Luis Saez, rider of Maximum Security (1st, DQ'd to 17th) - "I thought I never put anybody in danger. My horse shied away from the noise of the crowd and may have ducked out a little."
Manny Franco, rider of Spinoff (18th) - "I didn't think my horse handled the track very well. He felt uncomfortable. From the half-mile pole, I started to ask him for run but he was struggling."
Drayden Van Dyke, rider of Gray Magician (19th) - "I had a beautiful trip; no trouble whatsoever. He seemed to handle the track well but I just ran out of horse. We'll come back and fight another day."
2019 Kentucky Derby Post-Race Trainer Quotes
Bill Mott, trainer of Country House (1st) and Tacitus (3rd) - Pre DQ: "If it were a maiden 10 claimer, he would come down. I wish they would have left the track sealed because they get more kickback when they leave it like this, but he handled the track really well in Arkansas.
You're supposed to keep a straight line when you're riding and there shouldn't be a difference between a maiden 10k and the Kentucky Derby. It's not supposed to matter between the two. I'm just waiting to see what the stewards decide. There was definitely a foul in the race. My horses didn't get bothered terribly. Country House got bumped just a little bit, but there were a couple jocks who almost went down in there. I know what I naturally would like to happen, but I have no control over it at this point. There's over 100,000 people here and they don't want to make that call, but it's their duty to do the right thing and I hope they do.
I was second and fourth (past the finish) and I'm proud of my horses. I think they're fair and I think they want to be fair, but there were a couple horses who nearly went down in the race and I think those horses, it eliminated all chance for them. It looked like he bore out at the 5/16ths and he forced some horses to come together. There were a couple jocks who had to stand straight up at a very critical time in the race. I can't say that he bothered my horse that badly and I'm not going to moan about that. It's really between the horses that he bothered and the winner. My horses ran well. I'm pleased. It took Tacitus a little while to get on track but he came flying at the end."
Post Disqualification: "I think the horse ran great. I was pleased with the position he had and the way Flavien (Prat) rode him. The horse responded for him. (As far as the disqualification), it's bittersweet and I'd be lying if I said It was any different. You say you always want to win with a clean trip and everyone recognize the horse as the as the great athlete he is and due to the DQ some of that is diminished. Two horses lost all chance to win a Kentucky Derby and they were in a position at the time to hit the board. People bet on these horses and millions are bet on these races. I know the stewards had a very difficult decision. With that being said, I'm damn glad they put our number up."
Shug McGaughey, trainer of Code of Honor (2nd) - "He ran a good race. He just cut the corner and it looked like we were going to be home free. But I think he got to looking at the crowd a little bit, according to John (Velazquez). Then the horses ran away from him again, and he was finished. But he ran a good race. We'll get him back and see what's happening to him, and go from there."
Bob Baffert, trainer of Improbable (4th), Game Winner (5th) and Roadster (15th) - "I told them that was the horse to beat (Maximum Security). I told him be thankful you didn't lose him for $16,000 or else you'd be throwing up all over you horse right now. The field never got separated they were all right there. It was like a kids' soccer game, they were all right there. I knew the first quarter of a mile I knew I was toast. The problem is (Improbable) couldn't get out, the six (Vekoma) wouldn't let him out. He could not get out. I told my riders to stay clean, they don't listen to me. "
Koichi Tsunoda, trainer of Master Fencer (6th) - "He didn't break that well, but we knew he'd break slowly. He made a huge effort in the stretch. I'm really pleased with how we finished so close to the other quality horses in the race. Great effort by horse and rider. If he comes out of this well, I want to take him to the Belmont (Stakes) next."
Mark Casse, trainer of War of Will (7th) - "Yeah, we got bothered too. We almost clipped heels with (Maximum Security). We got excited. The horse ducked out and that's when we nearly clipped heels. Tyler (Gaffalione) said he felt great. He said if he could have gotten him to relax a little he thought he would finish a little better. I have to talk to Gary (Barber) about (the Preakness) but maybe."
Brendan Walsh, trainer of Plus Que Parfait (8th) - "I'm thrilled with him. I thought he ran his heart out. I couldn't ask for anything more. He ran his race. He had as good a trip as you're probably going to get. He's not beaten very far at all and went all the way to Dubai and came back and ran his race. For a second thought it could maybe happen and he gave me a thrill. He showed he could run with these horses. He was no 54-1 shot."
Mike Trombetta, trainer of Win Win Win (9th) - "No real excuses. The rider said he seemed to struggle with the kickback and climbing a little bit. But other than that, he had an OK trip. Today wasn't his day."
Todd Pletcher, trainer of Cutting Humor (10th), Spinoff (18th) - "We got the trips we wanted to get with them. Spinoff was forwardly placed and Cutting Humor was following behind him. Spinoff just hated the track, though. He didn't really want any part of it. I had a hint about that earlier in the week when he galloped on the `off' and showed us he didn't care for it. When Manny (Franco) went to riding him today, he just backed right out of there. Cutting Humor had a good trip and closed some ground late. He didn't disgrace us. Both colts seemed to come back fine. We'll be back another day."
Bret Calhoun, trainer of By My Standards (11th) - "We lost all chances at the break. The outside horse came back on us pretty hard. I think he came out of it OK. I'm not sure what's next for him. We'll take a few days to look at what we want to do."
"Maybe Mr. Money (winner, Pat Day Mile - GIII) will be the one going to the Preakness. We'll just take a step back and see what we want to do."
George Weaver, trainer of Vekoma (12th) - "At least he came back in one piece. He might have gotten into a little trouble on the turn, but he was starting to back up anyway at that point. I don't know if he liked the track. It's a crazy day. He's a great colt and we'll get him back over here when he's right."
Gustavo Delgado, trainer of Bodexpress (13th) - Had no comment
Danny Gargan, trainer of Tax (14th) - Had no comment
Steve Asmussen, trainer of Long Range Toddy (16th) - "it was very unfortunate that it rained. He doesn't do well on an `off' track. But he was in a good position and then, as we know, the race got real rough."
Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security (1s, DQ'd to 17th) - "I don't think it changed the outcome of the race. It looks like something scared him in the infield, but I haven't been able to watch it that close.
"I feel bad for the Wests. I feel bad for the owners, the Wests. It looked like he ducked out a little bit.
"It's [the disqualification}is tough. It hasn't sunk in yet, but it will."
"I saw 22 [seconds] and I was concerned and 46. I thought it was too fast, but he threw his ears up, I thought he was getting a breather and he'd be OK. He did seem to duck out a little, but when he [jockey Luis Saez] set him down, he was impressive."
Peter Miller, trainer of Gray Magician (19th) - "The horse bled a two out of five and we are going to give him a little break and bring him back in 30 or 45 days."