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Kentucky Derby: Country House wins after Maximum Security disqualified

Country house wins the Kentucky Derby.
Country House #20, ridden by jockey Flavien Prat, War of Will #1, Maximum Security #7, ridden by jockey Luis Saez and Code of Honor #13. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 65-1 long shot Country House won the Kentucky Derby Saturday in Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, after race favorite Maximum Security was disqualified for impeding another horse on crossing the finish line.

Why it matters: It's the first time a stewards' inquiry has disqualified the first horse across the line in the race's 145-year history. Bettors who backed Maximum Security to win, place or show lost about $9 million, ESPN reports, citing TwinSpires.com — which said it'd refund win bets on the Jason Servis-trained horse, ridden by Luis Saez.

By the numbers: Churchill Downs said wagering on the Derby rose 10% to a record $165.5 million, exceeding the previous mark of $149.9 million set last year. The record includes $4.1 million of handle bets in Japan. It's the first year the race has been offered for wagering there. A $2 bet on the Bill Mott-trained Country House, ridden by jockey Flavien Prat, pays $132.40 — the second-highest payout in Derby history, AP notes.  

  • The largest win bet on Country House was $2,500, according to TwinSpires.
  • 4-1 favorite Maximum Security was first across the Derby finish line by 1¾ lengths with a time of 2:03.93 over 1¼ miles, before being disqualified.
  • In 6 starts, 3-year-old colt Country House recorded 1 win, 2 seconds and 1 third for $260,175 in total career earnings, according to NBC Sports.

What they're saying: Maximum Security co-owner Gary West told AP: "I think this is the most egregious disqualification in the history of horse racing, and not just because it’s our horse." He told the news agency he's considering the next step — including a possible appeal.

The big picture: In 1968, Dancer’s Image was disqualified days after winning the Derby for failing a drug test.

Go deeper: Horse racing seeks normalcy in Kentucky Derby after unexplained Santa Anita deaths