In the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, main-character Ricky Bobby famously said, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” This is usually the case in horse racing. In the history of the Kentucky Derby, the second horse to cross the finish line has never won. That is, until Saturday, May 4, 2019, when the 145th Kentucky Derby took place at Churchill Downs.
The heavy 9-2 betting odds favorite, Maximum Security, was disqualified after finishing first in the race due to impeding the room or progress of multiple horses by switching lanes without clearance. Many viewers of the Kentucky Derby, including myself, were astounded and confused at the initial objection and eventual disqualification of Maximum Security. Twitter also made itself heard with everybody from upset Maximum Security bettors to memes comparing the loss for Maximum Security to the blown pass-interference call for the Saints in the NFC championship game. However, most Horse Racing experts seem to believe it was the correct call.
While it clearly appeared that Maximum Security was the best horse in the race, the winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby was longshot horse Country House. With the second-highest odds of any Kentucky Derby winner of all time at 65-1, a second-place finish and disqualification of Maximum Security was enough for Country House to secure the victory and its bettors to cash in big time. This win was also Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s first ever win at the Derby.
Witnessing the “greatest two minutes in sports” end in a very controversial way, I think we can all agree to stay in our own lane.