Country House declared Kentucky Derby winner after ‘inquiry ruling’; Maximum Security disqualified

Country House was declared the winner of the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday following “an inquiry ruling” and the disqualification of Maximum Security, officials said.

The disqualification marked “the first time in 145 years” that “the horse who finished first in the Kentucky Derby was disqualified,” the official Twitter account for the sporting event said.

Country House was a 65-1 longshot in the race that included 18 other competitors. Maximum Security, who crossed the finish line first, was disqualified for interfering with the path of serveral horses.

The objection was filed and stewards took about 20 minutes reviewing the race from several angles before declaring Country House the winner. The horse’s jockey, Flavien Prat, then celebrated as the finish was announced to the surprised crowd of 157,729.

Code of Honor was second, with Tacitus third.

Ahead of the race’s start, heavy rain caused the main dirt track to be downgraded from fast to sloppy. Bad weather that was expected arrived about three hours before post time. Rain fell harder as race time grew closer, making for a tough trek for the handlers and connections as they marched from the backside barn area around to the front stretch.

Earlier this week, Omaha Beach — the then-favorite to win the Kentucky Derby — was scratched from the competition due to a breathing problem.

Trainer Richard Mandella told The Associated Press that the horse developed a cough and a subsequent veterinary exam showed the colt has an entrapped epiglottis. It’s generally not life- or career-threatening and is typically corrected with minor surgery.

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