Maximum Security’s disqualification at the 2019 Kentucky Derby still stands.
A federal judge in Kentucky on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the horse’s owners, Gary and Mary West, against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) that sought to overturn the decision made by stewards at Churchill Downs after the race on May 4.
“Kentucky’s regulations make clear that the disqualification is not subject to judicial review,” U.S. District Judge Karen E. Caldwell wrote, per the Courier Journal of Louisville, Ky.
The stewards ruled that Maximum Security’s jockey, Luis Saez, interfered with other riders during the race. The second-place finisher, Country House, was awarded the victory and the $1.86 million winner’s share of the $3 million prize purse. The DQ was the first in the 145-year history of the race. Saez was suspended for 15 days, but the penalty remains under appeal, the Courier Journal reported.
Attorneys for the Wests filed suit on May 14 after the owners lost an appeal to the KHRC, which said the stewards’ decision was final. The Wests claimed the disqualification process was “bizarre and unconstitutional” and based on insufficient evidence.
“(T)he disqualification procedure does not implicate an interest protected under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Caldwell wrote.
The Wests can appeal Caldwell’s ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.