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Judge Dismisses Suit By Owners Of Derby DQ Maximum Security

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Jockey Luis Saez pumps his fist after crossing the finish line first on Maximum Security.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the owners of Maximum Security seeking to challenge the decision to disqualify their horse as the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Owners Gary and Mary West wanted the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky to reverse the stewards’ decision and find that their decision violated the couple’s constitutional rights to due process. They also wanted to have the $3 million Derby purse be redistributed to them, jockey Luis Saez and trainer Jason Servis. However, Judge Karen Caldwell issued an opinion Friday in which she said “Kentucky’s regulations make clear that the disqualification is not subject to judicial review. Further, the disqualification procedure does not implicate an interest protected under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution.” Caldwell said Kentucky regulations state that the stewards’ decision in determining fouls and disqualifications of horses “is final and not subject to appeal.” The Wests filed the lawsuit against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and its executive director, members and stewards in May, after Maximum Security was the first horse across the finish line in the 145th Derby but was later DQ’d. The Churchill Downs stewards determined after a race review that Maximum Security had drifted out and interfered with several other horses’ progress. Country House, who finished second, was declared the winner. It wasn’t immediately known whether the Wests would appeal.