The 2020 Kentucky Derby is just over a week away, but the winner of the 2019 race has finally been made official.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit made the decision on Friday to uphold the decision to disqualify Maximum Security from the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, crowning second-place finisher Country House as the winner. The owners of Maximum Security, Gary and Mary West, filed a lawsuit against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) 10 days after the race with the intent to overrule the outcome.
Back in Nov. 2019, U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell dismissed the case, essentially stating decisions regarding disqualifications are not one for a court to make. The Court of Appeals upheld that decision on Friday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled today on the winner of 145th Kentucky Derby–which Maximum Security finished first but lost to Country House on controversial DQ–and reaffirmed that judges shouldn't decide who wins or loses at sports: https://t.co/LTY4pyu3Gt
— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) August 28, 2020
During the 2019 Derby, which happened nearly 16 months ago now, Maximum Security was disqualified to last place following the race after apparently swerving into others, impeding the progress of at least three other horses. According to BloodHorse.com, the West’s tried to claim that they were:
“Deprived ‘protected liberty and property interests’ by the disqualification of Maximum Security. But the appeals court said Kentucky law notes that participation in horse racing ‘is a privilege and not a personal right.'”
There was even a mention of the Higgins vs. Ky. Sports Radio case because why wouldn’t there be?
Maximum Security’s owners lost their appeal to have the Kentucky Derby overturned from last year
But for the court to rule, they of course had to cite “Higgins vs Kentucky Sports Radio” pic.twitter.com/vIUsUGoIU2
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) August 28, 2020
The 146th Kentucky Derby is scheduled to run in eight days on Sept. 5.