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Maximum Security Owners Sue For US$1.86 Million

Friday, 17th May 2019

In a controversy that is dividing thoroughbred racing fans and participants in the United States, Gary and Mary West, who own first past the post 3YO colt Maximum Security in the recent Gr1 Kentucky Derby, are suing in an attempt to have the disqualification reversed. According to theguardian.com, the lawsuit not only seeks the US$1.86 million of the US$3 million purse payable to the winner, but also US$186,000 for each of trainer Jason Jarvis and jockey Luis Saez (facing a 15 day suspension for the ride). The reasons put forward for the claim are that “Stewards and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission relied on insubstantial evidence”. Citing a denial of due process, the West’s lawyer said, “The insubstantiality of the evidence relied on by the stewards to disqualify Maximum Security, and the bizarre and unconstitutional process to which the Plaintiffs were subjected before and after the disqualification, are the subjects of this action.” The lawsuit follows an initial appeal by the Wests which was turned down by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on the basis that the stewards’ finding “shall be final and not subject to appeal”. The situation, not ideal for the sport close to the weekend's Gr1 Preakness Stakes, is likely to play out over an extended period.

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