The stewards from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission met Friday for the group’s routine post-event hearing that will continue the most controversial week the Kentucky Derby has ever seen.
They met with the jockeys involved in the inquiry of the 145th derby that saw Maximum Security disqualified and Country Horse named the winner. Lawyers provided video alleging War of Will and jockey Tyler Gaffalione were at fault, not Maximum Security.
Saez secures lawyer ahead of meeting
Luis Saez, Maximum Security’s jockey, has already hired an attorney for his defense should the commission discipline him. Ann Oldfather is a well-known Louisville trial lawyer who gained recognition as a divorce lawyer and civil litigator. Oldfather won millions in back pay for firefighters and won a verdict against McDonald’s, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Saez was compared to a “drunk driver” by War of Will trainer Mark Casse days after the race. War of Will was caught in the group of horses behind Maximum Security. Oldfather called the accusation baseless and said it was a “flawless ride” under “great duress.”
Gary and Mary West, owners of Maximum Security, are still evaluating their legal options as of Thursday and insist their horse was the best that day. Their appeal with the KHRC was denied Monday, the same day they filed it.
Lawyers: Video shows War of Will at fault
Oldfather provided a video, shared with the Louisville Courier-Journal, that shows an alternate perspective. It defends Saez from “foul riding” and alleges War of Will and Casse made an early move into a closed lane and caused the issue.
It starts with War of Will being pushed out of the gate to get positioning, then highlights what lawyers say is Gaffalione fighting to restrain War of Will around the corner. The video pauses to highlight language used by announcers and a since deleted tweet by Gaffalione about “anticipating a spot”
That moment is when lawyers allege a “domino effect” occurred with Maximum Security already in the lead and his own lane. It goes on to allege Maximum Security stayed in the horse’s own lane and continued to be struck by War of Will from behind while the jockey does nothing to restrain the horse.
"Following the meeting, stewards typically deliberate," Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers said, per the Courier-Journal. "If any suspension or fine is assessed, it's typically announced on the KHRC website within a 24-hour period."
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