With the disqualification of Maximum Security, the first-ever on-track disqualification in the 145 years the Derby has run, it’s already been an unprecedented year in Triple Crown history.
And now Gary West, owner of Maximum Security, is about to make things even more interesting. West is offering up a $20 million challenge to four of the horses who competed against his horse in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4. Maximum Security was disqualified from the Kentucky Derby after the stewards determined a foul was committed against War of Will.
West told the Paulick Report, “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.”
The four horses he chose are:
Country House was named the winner of the Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security was disqualified. A chestnut colt, his jockey was Flavien Prat. His trainer is Bill Mott and owners are Mrs. J. V. Shields Jr., E. J. M. McFadden, and LNJ Foxwoods. Before the Derby, his career earnings were $260,175.
War of Will
The colt originally placed 8th, but was bumped up to 7th place. He was ridden by jockey, Tyler Gaffalione. His trainer is Mark Casse and owner is Gary Barber. Before the Derby, he had $501,569 in career earnings.
A bay colt who initially placed 14th but moved up to 13th. His jockey was Chris Landeros. His trainer is Gustavo Delgado and owners are Top Racing, Global Thoroughbred, and GDS Racing Stable. Before the Derby, his career earnings were $208,700.
Long Range Toddy
A dark bay colt who at first was 17th but moved up to 16th after the disqualification. In the Derby, he was ridden by Jon Court. His Trainer is Steve Asmussen and owner is Willis Horton. Before the Derby, he had $854,459 in career earnings.
Here’s The Fine Print
The four horses West challenged are each eligible to win $5 million (totaling the $20 million up for grabs). The horses do not have to win a race — they simply have to beat Maximum Security head-to-head in any race, between now and December 31, 2019. Additionally, it’s been stated that the four horses do not need to participate in the same race against Maximum Security, it can be four individual races, on any track and any distance.
But there’s a catch (as always): In order for the horses to be eligible, each of the horses’ owners must put up $5 million themselves, payable to Maximum Security’s owner if his horse wins. The money will be put into an escrow account until the race(s) finish and the top contender is determined.
Now this makes it interesting, doesn’t it?
But there’s more: If any of the above horses lose to Maximum Security (and have to pay out the $5 million), West has announced he will donate the earnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund. And even if none of the contenders above agrees to a match, West has relayed he will donate 10 percent of Maximum Security’s future lifetime earnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.
Later in the press release he said, “Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby … 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.”
This photo below shows he was clearly the fastest horse across the finish line, but did the foul result in an unfair (and unsafe) advantage?