May 4th 2019 – Update May 5th 2019
Sports and officiating. They say a well officiated game/sport is one where you don’t notice the officiating. What I just witnessed today at Churchill Downs with the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby was simply… I’m reaching for adjectives….absurd, astonishing, shocking, stupid…
Every one of these race officials who overturned the win of Maximum Security should be fired immediately. Why?
Rules govern the sport. Rules govern every sport. They are there for a reason to guide the sport and make it safe and have integrity. But millions of people are tuned in, watching the Kentucky Derby, the sport in its most absolute glamorous position—then you stall and extend coverage over a Race Stewards decision on who won. If it was that obvious a foul altered the outcome of a race, the decision should have been quick and easy.
Do I need to mention that the sport of horse racing is in serious decline, almost needing mouth-to-mouth CPR, in the face of a new sports landscape on the horizon where every Joe Blow will be able bet on any sporting event? The sport of horse racing has lost many fans and bettors over the years due to cheating within the sport and organized crime altering race outcomes.
And what do you do, drag out the decision so that the event gets extended coverage, then overturn the finishing order that all these Millions of people watched. You give the win to a 65-1 longshot. Who will never win another Grade 1 stakes race. Put me on record for that.
The rules read: “If in the opinion of the stewards, a foul alters the finish of a race, any offending horses may be disqualified by the stewards.”
Maximum Security led from start to finish. No other horse finished close enough to him for a disqualification to have merit.
The bettors race favorite, Maximum Security, gets the win taken away from him by a horse who would have doing good to hit 4th place in your Superfecta. Maximum Security was the best, the fastest horse in this field and was today. All the NBC commentators agreed. Race Stewards, listen to them.
Then you completely turn your back on bettors. There was $6,212,046 bet on Maximum Security to win compared to $520,907 on Country House. Maximum Security also had $1,495,408 to place and $1,272,082 to show. So roughly $9 million dollars. A really wise move for a sport on CPR.
These colts are inexperienced. A horse in the lead should get to decide where he wants to go. This isn’t Formula One racing with seasoned veteran drivers that you can penalize for blocking. This is horse racing with animals who aren’t as experienced. They don’t have rear view mirrors or side mirrors to know whose behind them and where they are on the track.
The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby should be viewed as a complete farce. I am glad that I have moved into writing about NHL hockey, a sport that has integrity enough to suspend officials and apologize to fans for bad calls by referees.