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Maximum Security owner denies impeding Kentucky Derby winner

Maximum Security owner denies impeding Kentucky Derby winner
FILE PHOTO: May 4, 2019; Louisville, KY, USA; Luis Saez aboard Maximum Security (7) crosses the finish line during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports - 12643975/File Photo -
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(Reuters) - The owner of disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security on Sunday denied his horse had interfered with the declared winner and said it was unlikely the horse would run in the May 18 Preakness, the second leg of U.S. racing's Triple Crown.

Gary West, in an interview with Daily Racing Form, added that he may need to appeal the Kentucky Derby decision to U.S. federal courts because of Kentucky regulations.

Maximum Security on Saturday became the first horse in the history of the 145-year-old race to be disqualified after crossing the line first.

Stewards ruled Maximum Security was guilty of a contact foul when he drifted out heading into the stretch and affected the progress of several horses. They awarded the win to long-shot Country House.

West denied Maximum Security had impeded the winner and said he was contemplating what to do next.

"I don't think we came within 10 or 20 feet of the winner (Country House)," he said. "Certainly we did not bother the winner."

As for appealing the decision, "the only recourse a person would have would be to get it into the federal court system," because of Kentucky regulations, West said, according to Daily Racing Form's website http://www.drf.com.

"I don't know we're going to do (that). I want to see the video, I want to understand the facts. I want time to think about it."

West said he had requested a meeting with stewards to go over the video but that the request was denied. He said he was told the first opportunity to review the video would be on Thursday, the next day of live racing at Churchill Downs.

Neither West nor the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission could be reached for comment.

Stewards' "findings of fact and determination shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal," according to racing commission statues.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday slammed the decision to disqualify Maximum Security

"Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby - not even close!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

Barbara Borden, chief steward of the commission, said in a statement on Saturday that stewards determined Maximum Security drifted out and affected the progression of War of Will and, in turn, caused interference with Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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