The most controversial finish in Kentucky Derby history resulted in the favorite being taken down, a 65-1 longshot winner and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott winning his first Kentucky Derby.
Country House, who entered Saturday's race at Churchill Downs with only one win in six starts and barely enough points to qualify for the race, was elevated from second place to first after Maximum Security, who was the first to cross the finish line, was disqualified for interfering with another horse around the final turn. It was the first time in Derby history that a winner had been disqualified. The decision, which will be discussed for decades, gave Mott, who has won more than 4,900 races, and trained one of the greatest horses in the last 40 years, Cigar, his first Derby winner in nine tries. His previous entrants had never even finished on the board.
The win by Country House resulted in some astronomical Kentucky Derby payouts. A $2 win bet returned $132.40, the second highest in Derby history. In 1913, Donerail paid $184.90. The $2 exacta paid $3,009.60, the $1 trifecta paid $11,475.30 and the $1 superfecta paid $51,400.10.
The critical moment came on the far turn. Maximum Security, the leader from the start, drifted to his right turning for home. Stewards determined that the horse interfered with War of Will, who was trying to pass on the right. Maximum Security crossed the wire first with Country House second and Code of Honor third.
After the disqualification, Maximum Security was placed 17th. The new order of finish vaulted Code of Honor into second and Tacitus, also trained by Mott, in third. Two horses trained by Bob Baffert, Improbable and Game Winner, were placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
"It's bittersweet," Mott said after the race. "I'd be lying if I said it was any different."
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