Gary West just can’t get over what happened to Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby. The horse’s owner began by appealing Maximum Security’s disqualification, then he sued in federal court to have the win restored, and now he’s doing something even crazier.
In a statement released on Friday, West issued a $20 million challenge to four Kentucky Derby rivals: if Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy, or Bodexpress can beat Maximum Security in any race before January 1, 2020, he’ll pay the owner of that horse $5 million of his own money. There’s a catch, though. If one of the other owners takes West up on his challenge, they’ll have to wager $5 million of their own money to pay West if Maximum Security beats their horse.
The horses don’t have to all run in the same race to take on this challenge. It could be any race between now and January 1 — West didn’t set any specifications for the length of race or the type of surface. And the other horses wouldn’t even have to win the race, they would just have to beat Maximum Security.
In the statement West released about the challenge, he said that this contest has nothing to do with the Kentucky Derby disqualification of Maximum Security, but is instead about his belief in his horse’s athletic ability. Via the Louisville Courier Journal:
“Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby. I don’t care to discuss the controversy surrounding the events of the race and the disqualification of my horse at this time, but I firmly believe I have the best 3-year-old in the country and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”
It’s a little hard to believe that this $20 million Kentucky Derby rematch challenge has nothing to do with Maximum Security’s disqualification. But West also said that he hopes the challenge will lead to more interest in horse racing — presumably beyond the interest that’s come from West refusing to let go of Maximum Security’s DQ.
The statement also teased the possibility of a race between the five horses, saying it would “potentially create the most lucrative race in the world.” With all the hubbub surrounding Maximum Security’s disqualification and all the bets that would surely be placed on the race, West is probably right about that.
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