Maximum Security owner makes $20M challenge to Derby rivals


The owner of disqualified Kentucky Derby horse Maximum Security is willing to put up $20 million of his own money against the owners of the horses who benefited from that disqualification.

Gary West said in a statement Friday that he will wager $5 million each if Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy or Bodexpress finish ahead of Maximum Security in the next race against him this year.

Maximum Security was first across the finish line on May 4 but was disqualified for interference and placed 17th in the field. The victory went to Country House, who was second before the disqualification. The other three horses mentioned in Friday's statement also received bumps due to the interference ruling.

"I am doing this because I think it would be good for racing and a unique opportunity to bring more people into racing because of the elevated interest this would bring to the sport," West said.

None of the five horses would have to win the race; it would be a wager based on head-to-head results.

Owners of any of the horses Maximum Security finishes ahead of would have to pay West $5 million.

West will donate all of the winnings from the challenge to the Permanently Disabled Jockey's Fund, according to the statement. If no owners accept the wager, West plans to give 10 percent of Maximum Security's future lifetime racing earnings to the organization.

Gary and Mary West filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking a reversal of the Derby decision. Calling the decision "bizarre and unconstitutional," the suit seeks to restore Maximum Security as the race's winner and redistribute the $1.86 million share of winnings to the Wests, jockey Luis Saez and trainer John Servis.

On Monday, Saez was suspended 15 racing days by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission 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." He appealed that decision Thursday.

--Field Level Media

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