Can we get through one race without any tomfoolery? Thank goodness yes, as the Belmont Stakes had an epic finish with Sir Winston making a down stretch comeback to lay claim to the title.
After the fracas that broke out at the end of the 2019 Kentucky Derby, some wondered if the same chaos would strike the Belmont Stakes. Some of the bad luck plaguing this year’s Triple Crown didn’t hit the June 8 event as Sir Winston make a remarkable down stretch comeback under jockey Joel Rosario to handily take the race. After the mess that was the Derby, followed by a jockeyless horse racing in the Preakness, thank goodness this race went off without a hitch.
The 2019 Triple Crown will be remembered for who – and who didn’t – win the Kentucky Derby. Maximum Security finished first in the race but became the first horse in the 145-year history of the Run of the Roses to be disqualified from first for a racetrack foul, according to BloodHorse.com. Country House and Long Range Toddy (who was the 17th horse to cross the finish line) filed an objection to the result, saying that the horse bumped into War of Will and caused a chain-reaction. The winner kind of pushed me sideways,” Flavian Prat, Country House’s jockey, said, per UPI. “It really cost my momentum around the turn.”
After reviewing the race, Maximum Security was disqualified, and Country House was named the winner. The controversial finish left a bad taste in many fans’ mouths, and it didn’t go away when Maximum Security’s owner said the horse wouldn’t run in the Preakness Stakes. When Country House pulled out of the race due to a cold and ensured there wouldn’t be a Triple Crown-winner this year, the whole season lost a lot of its drama. For the first time since 1951, the second race in the Triple Crown ran without the (real) Kentucky Derby top-four. Eventually, War of Will won the Preakness Stakes, 1¼ lengths ahead of second-place Everfast.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) June 8, 2019
Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security, threw down the gauntlet after his horse was disqualified. He was willing to put $20 million of his own money on the line to prove his horse was better. Gary would pay $5 million to the owners of the four horses involved in the Kentucky Derby incident — Country Horse, War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress – if any of those horses could finish ahead of Maximum Security by the end of 2019, according to USA Today. However, to claim this bet, the owners would have to put up $5 million of their own money if Maximum Security beat their horse.
“Most experts agree that Maximum Security was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby,” Gary West said the statement. “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.”