U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday assailed “political correctness” for the decision by horse racing judges to overturn the apparent outcome of the country’s most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby.
“The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one” Trump said on Twitter a day after the race in Louisville, Kentucky. “It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!”
Three stewards who oversee racing rules infractions at the Churchill Downs race track overturned the outcome of the race 22 minutes after it ended. In the nationwide telecast of the annual race, it initially appeared that one of the pre-race favorites, Maximum Security, had won, after starting the race at 9-2 odds.
But after two competing jockeys filed an objection against Maximum Security, saying that it had interfered with their run and that of other horses in the last turn before the finish line, the stewards examined extensive television footage of the race before declaring that a 65-1 longshot, Country House, was the winner.
Luis Saez rides Maximum Security across the finish line first during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky.
Bettors who placed a $2 wager on Country House to win suddenly were able to cash tickets for $132.40, while those who bet on Maximum Security got nothing, with the stewards placing it as the 17th place finisher in the 19-horse field.
It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that the first-to-finish horse was disqualified.
Chief steward Barbara Borden said, “We had a lengthy review of the race. We interviewed affected riders,” the jockeys, and “determined that the 7 horse,” Maximum Security, “drifted out and impacted the progress” of other horses as they rounded the last turn on the two-kilometer oval race course. “Those horses were all affected, we thought, by the interference. Therefore, we unanimously determined to disqualify No. 7.”