The 2019 Kentucky Derby

Karyna Hetman

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Since 1875, the first Saturday in May has been dedicated to the Kentucky Derby in which people make bets and find entertainment in watching top competing horses race. The annual Kentucky Derby took place on Saturday, May 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Twenty highly trained and qualified horses competed in the 145th running Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby is the longest running sports event in the U.S. and is said to have been the most exciting two minutes in sports even during historical events such as the Great Depression and both World Wars. Invented by Meriwether Lewis Clark, this race is run a distance of one and a quarter miles. The criteria for qualifying horses to compete is to be at least a three-year-old thoroughbred and to place in the 2019 Road to the Kentucky Derby race.

In this year’s race, the weather was quite gloomy after a rainstorm, which was a major setback to the race as the track had gotten very muddy. This was a hardship for those competing as the unstable racing conditions made it harder for jockeys to maintain control and for horses to run at their fastest and greatest potential. This unfortunate weather condition may have been the cause of a later disqualification.

As the gunshot and the race had begun, the winning horse was evident to the crowd and audience watching at home. One horse in particular, Maximum Security, who had 4-1 odds of winning, was clearly ahead of all other competitors during the entirety of the race. Maximum security, as many predicted, was the first to cross the finish line at the end of the race.

However, there was talk up in the air about foul play from the winning horse, Maximum Security. According to CNN, Maximum Security was accused of unfair competition for “impeding other horses during a feisty race.” Because of this accusation along with closely assessing replay footage, Maximum Security was disqualified and did not take home the title of winning first place. Instead, the horse that crossed the finish line second after Maximum Security, Country House, won first place and Maximum Security got bumped back to 17th place. Some followers of the Kentucky Derby and audience members were outraged about the disqualification because of how the muddy track could have gotten in the way and also that Maximum Security was significantly ahead of the other horses through the entirety of the race. Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security says he felt the “thrill of victory and agony of defeat,” after the race.