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Tue, Aug. 20

Country House wins Kentucky Derby via DQ

Country House, left, was declared the winner after Maximum Security, center, was disqualified Saturday during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Country House, left, was declared the winner after Maximum Security, center, was disqualified Saturday during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

LOUISVILLE (AP) – Maximum Security led all the way in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, only to become the first winner disqualified for interference in the race’s 145-year history.

Country House finished second in the slop before an objection was raised, causing a lengthy delay while stewards repeatedly reviewed several angles of video footage, before he was elevated into the winner’s circle.

That gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first Derby victory at age 65.

“It’s bittersweet. You always want to win with a clean trip and have everybody recognize the horse as the very good horse and great athlete that he is,” Mott said. “Due to the disqualification, I think some of that is diminished.”

Jockey Flavien Prat, who originated the claim of foul, also won his first Derby.

“I’m kind of speechless right now,” Prat said, letting out a long sigh.

Country House paid $132.40 to win — the second-highest payout in the Derby’s 145-year history.

“Looking at the toteboard there’s probably a lot of people that didn’t think we could win,” Mott said, “but that’s horse racing.”

Country House was dismissed as a long shot with a bad post on the far outside. It was only the chestnut colt’s second win in seven career starts and his first stakes victory.

Maybe this was one for his father: Lookin At Lucky got saddled with the dreaded No. 1 post in the 2010 Derby, where he got pinned to the rail and wound up sixth. He rebounded to win the Preakness two weeks later.

The disqualification was a crushing turn of events for Maximum Security trainer Jason Servis and jockey Luis Saez, who already had begun celebrating what they thought were their first Derby victories.

Instead, previously undefeated Maximum Security was dropped to 17th of 19 horses. Sent off as the 9-2 second choice, Maximum Security was placed behind all the horses that he bothered.

Prat claimed that Maximum Security ducked out in the final turn and forced several horses to steady, including Long Range Toddy. War of Will came perilously close to clipping heels with Maximum Security, which could have caused a chain-reaction accident.

“There were two horses in the race that lost all chance 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.”

Mott said the incident was caused by Maximum Security’s action and not Saez’s riding tactics.

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