DERBY DISQUALIFICATION WON’T HELP FALTERING SPORT
It has been quite a year so far. Several decisions made in 2019 have been questioned, voted on again or just overturned.
Most have happened in Washington politics that have cost taxpayers plenty of money, but one occurred Saturday afternoon that cost millions of horse racing bettors millions of dollars.
What I’m referring to is the disqualification of the apparent winning of the 145th Kentucky Derby by Maximum Security, who crossed the finish line first but was knocked down to 17th place by the stewards at Churchill Downs, the famous Lexington KY. race track.
When the prestigious event ended, there were millions of bettors clicking their heels, happy that their horse came in first. And those bold enough to have place and show tickets on second place 65-l longshot Country House also were just as exuberant.
And as in many horse races, there was an objection involving Maximum Security, which is not unusual when some losing jockey questions an obstruction or bumping somewhere during the race.
The race track stewards usually arrive at a decision in less than five minutes after the race ended. But this time it was nearly 30 minutes before stewards made that stunning decision to disqualify Maximum Security and move Country House into the winner’s circle. I looked for the garland of roses that goes to the winner to rapidly start wilting.
Those bettors who had been calculating their winnings at around $12 on a $2 bet just threw their Maximum Security tickets in the trash can. The same was true for the Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta tickets that would have been big money winners.
A few bettors were seen crawling on their hands and knees searching for their win tickets on Country House that they may have thrown away when they saw their horse finish second instead of first.
The win gave 65-year-old Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first Derby victory along with Country House jockey Flavien Prat, who originated the claim of foul on Maximum Security.
According to an Associated Press version of the race, “Prat claimed that Maximum Security ducked out in the final turn and forced several horses to steady, including Long Range Toddy, whose jockey, Jon Court, also lodged an objection.
“War of Will came perilously close to clipping heels with Maximum Security, which would have caused a chain-reaction accident,” the article pointed out.
“There were two horses in the race that lost all chances to win a Kentucky Derby,” Mott said. “They were in position at the time to hit the board. If what happened to us was the only thing they were looking at, I don’t think you would have seen a disqualification.”
The last claim of foul by a jockey in the Derby was unsuccessful, according to the A.P. John Velazquez claimed interference in 2001, but the stewards didn’t change the result.
The only other disqualification in the Derby occurred long after the race in 1968. Dancer’s Image, the first-place finisher, tested positive for a prohibited medication, and Kentucky state racing officials ordered the purse money to be redistributed with Forward Pass getting the winner’s share.
Saturday’s decision could be appealed to the Kentucky Horse Racing commission or the courts.
“We are exploring our options to appeal,” commented Gary West who owns Maximum Security along with his wife Mary. “We are exploring our options to appeal. If we can’t appeal to the stewards, our other options are the state racing commission. If those don’t work, we might go to the legal options.”
West is unsure whether to enter his horse in the Preakness as he ponders appealing the historic decision.
“When you’re not going for the Triple Crown, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to wheel the horse back in two weeks,” West commented. He added that appeals take weeks, sometimes months and even years to sort out.
KWICKIES…Houston Texans’ All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt, whose foundation sponsors an annual softball tournament, netted more than $1 million last weekend for his foundation.
In this week’s issue of USA Today Sports Weekly, an article appears on the evaluation of the 2019 NFL draft and the 10 significant steals made by teams and No. 7 is Arizona getting West Orange-Stark and Alabama All American safety Deionte Thompson in the fifth round. “Arizona used its position atop almost every round to extract extensive value. If he can stay healthy—NFL Network reported a degenerative knee issue removed him from consideration for several teams—the rangy safety could go down as one of the group’s key contributors,” the article said.
The Houston Rockets were set to play perhaps their most important game of the season Monday night against the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets won their first game of the series Saturday night 126-121 in overtime, narrowing the Warriors’ margin to 2-1. Houston was hoping the home court would help them even the series Monday night.
Virtually unknown Max Homa won his first PGA Tour event Sunday with a three-stroke victory in the Wells Fargo Championship played at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C. Homa had rounds of 69-63-70-67—269 to capture the $1,422,000 first-place money.
Glad to know that Lamar University wasted no time getting a new ladies’ basketball coach. I hope Aqua Franklin works out well despite the fact she was hired by Athletic Director Marco Borne, who fired two lady softball coaches before he even had his bags unpacked last spring. I’m certainly not sold on him yet and probably never will be.
The Orangefield Bobcats are still alive and well on the diamond this week as the boys meet New Waverly in the area round while the Lady Bobcats clash with Danbury in the Class 3A Regional II quarterfinals.JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Astros wouldn’t mind playing all of their games in Mexico if winning last weekend’s two-game series against the LA Angels is any indication of how they will do. The Astros scored 24 runs, pounded eight home runs. 28 hits and 17 extra-base hits. Alex Bregman really likes the Monterrey stadium where he blasted three home runs and knocked in eight runs. Shortstop Carlos Correa extended his American league leading hitting streak to 15 games going into Monday’s three-game series against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park that began Monday night.