Maximum Security's jockey suspended after Kentucky Derby disqualification

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 04: Luis Saez, jockey of Maximum Security #7, looks on prior to the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 04, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Luis Saez, jockey of Maximum Security, is under suspension after the controversial Kentucky Derby. (Getty Images)

Stewards for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced in a statement Monday that Luis Saez, Maximum Security’s jockey, is suspended 15 days for interfering with riders during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Maximum Security crossed the finish line first but was later disqualified after a post-race review, a first for the Kentucky Derby. Country Horse was named the winner while Maximum Security was officially placed 17th.

Stewards suspend Saez for interference

The stewards met with those involved Friday. Saez and his lawyers provided a video alleging War of Will and his jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, were the ones to interfere. The video highlights language used by announcers during the race and the “domino effect” caused by War of Will that also resulted in the horse scraping against Maximum Security’s hooves. War of Will’s trainer Mark Casse compared Saez to a “drunk driver” earlier in the week.

The KHRC suspended Saez for “failure to control his mount and make the proper effort to maintain a straight course thereby causing interference with several rivals that resulted in the disqualification of his mount.”

No other jockeys will be punished, per the statement. Saez will be suspended beginning May 23. It runs through June 14.

The race days are May 23-27, May 30-31, June 1-2, June 6-9 and June 13-14.

Saez plans to appeal

Attorneys for Saez intend to appeal the suspension, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. It can be appealed to the commission and the courts, unlike the decision to disqualify a horse.

Karen Murphy, an attorney for Maximum Security owners Gary and Mary West, told the Courier-Journal that Saez “didn’t do anything wrong.”

The owners, as of late last week, were still evaluating their legal options. They filed an appeal the Monday after the race but it was quickly denied by the KHRC.

Saez, 26, is a native of Panama. He has won several races at Belmont Park in New York since the derby, per the Courier-Journal, including a first-place spot at the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes over the weekend.

The Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown, is Saturday. Maximum Security will not race due to health reasons. The suspension does not begin until late next week, opening the door for Saez to ride a different horse.

The Belmont Stakes is June 8, which falls in the middle of his suspension.

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