Trainer of Kentucky Derby horse compares Maximum Security jockey to 'drunk driver'

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Jason Owens
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We’ve heard from Maximum Security’s camp. We’ve heard from Country House’s camp.

But what about the team that was directly impeded in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby when Maximum Security drifted off the rail of the final turn?

War of Will trainer Mark Casse broke his silence in a Louisville Courier-Journal report published Wednesday. And he’s fired up.

Trainer: ‘Jockey like following a drunk driver’

Casse likened Maximum Security jockey Luis Saez to a “drunk driver” for the move that ultimately led his winning horse to be disqualified and allowed second-place finisher Country Horse to be named the winner.

“It’s almost like following a drunk driver,” Casse said. “You don’t know which direction he’s going to go.”

The Final turn of Saturday's Kentucky Derby remains steeped in controversy. (AP)
The Final turn of Saturday's Kentucky Derby remains steeped in controversy. (AP)

Dangerous chain reaction

Disaster was avoided in the final turn as the bunched up horses came dangerously close to colliding, which could have resulted in injury or worse for the animals and jockeys involved.

Maximum Security’s move led to a chain reaction in which War of Will impeded trailing horses.

War of Will was in the crosshairs

Casse’s words published on Wednesday came in response Maximum Security owner Gary West blaming War of Will jockey Tyler Gaffalione for the infraction in a Fox News segment.

“I think when it’s all said and done and all the evidence is put on display, frame by frame in slow motion, you will find that the 1 horse (War of Will) actually caused the infraction, not our horse,” West said, per the Courier Journal. “And ... I believe it will eventually show that if the 1 horse would have finished ahead of our horse, we would have had every right in the world to claim an objection against the 1 horse.”

Legal action pending?

Maximum Security’s team filed an appeal and lost on the grounds that the decision of the stewards who disqualified the horse was not subject to appeal. West reportedly plans to file a lawsuit as his next course of action.

Casse took exception to West’s claim that Gaffalione was at fault.

“People were taking shots at Tyler, saying he should have went inside or should have went outside,” Casse told the Courier-Journal. “That really upset me. I went back and watched the entire race and noticed that we were bothered not just in the main event, but we were herded prior to that.”

This is not likely the last word on the most controversial finish in the history of the Kentucky Derby.

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