FILE PHOTO: May 4, 2019; Louisville, KY, USA; Flavien Prat aboard Country House (20) , Tyler Gaffalione aboard War of Will (1) , Luis Saez aboard Maximum Security (7) and John Velazquez aboard Code of Honor (13) race during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday blasted the result of the Kentucky Derby horse race, saying the controversial disqualification of first-finisher Maximum Security could only happen in “these days of political correctness.”
“The Kentuky (sic) Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!”
In a stunning reversal, second-finisher and long-shot Country House was declared the winner of Saturday’s 145th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville after Maximum Security became the first horse in the history of the race to be disqualified for an on-track infraction after crossing the line first.
Country House’s team had objected to Maximum Security’s win, saying the 9-2 favorite’s wide turn heading into the soggy home stretch impeded other horses. After a 20-minute video review, officials found Maximum Security guilty of a contact foul and handed the win to Country House.
The 1-1/4 mile race, called the “fastest two minutes in sports,” and the first jewel in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, featured the largest guaranteed purse of $3 million and played out before more than 150,000 fans that packed Churchill Downs despite the wet weather.
Coming into Saturday’s race, Country House had only notched one win in six starts.
Maximum Security’s trainer and owner told Sports Illustrated they planned to pursue any available appeals against the disqualification.
Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bill Berkrot