Country House scores Kentucky Derby upset – via DQ
HOW IT HAPPENED
The most exciting two minutes in sports was followed by the most excruciating 20 minutes in sports. When it was over, the Kentucky Derby had a new winner.
Longshot Country House ran huge, and with an assist from the stewards, the three-year-old Lookin At Lucky colt gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott the first Kentucky Derby win of his sparkling career over a sloppy Churchill Downs strip Saturday evening.
Maximum Security, the Jason Servis trainee who began his career at the $16,000 maiden claiming level, led virtually throughout in the Derby. Under an astute ride from jockey Luis Saez, Maximum Security grabbed the early lead, caught a breather in mid-race, was swallowed up nearing the head of the lane, but rebroke and went on to cross the wire two lengths in front of Country House.
But as the horses neared the lane, Maximum Security, a New Year’s Day colt, drifted out a couple of paths in front of War of Will, who had to take up. That led to an objection and then to a lengthy review by the stewards. Ultimately, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security. That elevated Country House to the win.
Country House entered the Grade 1, $3 million event, the first leg of the Triple Crown, with only a maiden win to his credit. He had also run three times in graded company, a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Risen Star and third-place finish in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby his best results.
But today under new pilot Flavien Prat, Country House mustered the best effort of his career. He was never far back while three and four wide on the backstretch and circled the turn to reach a threatening position. The incident between Maximum Security occurred to his inside and might actually have helped Country House, helping to ensure he had clear run.
He was unable to go with Maximum Security, but held a clear second, while Tacitus rallied to win a multi-horse photo for the show.
Photo of Country House by Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park.
“We hate to back into any of these things… It’s a bittersweet victory.
“I’m thrilled to death for all the connections.
“We’ll just have to prove ourselves in the future.”
— Trainer Bill Mott
“It’s a real feeling, but it’s a good one.”
— Jockey Flavien Prat
FACTS AND FIGURES
- Winner paid: $132.40 – $56.60 – $24.60
- Fractions and Winning time: 22.31-46.62-1:12.50-1:38.63-2:03.92
- Winner’s record: 7-2-2-1
- Owner: Mrs. Jerry Shields, Jr., E. J. M. McFadden, Jr., and LNJ Foxwoods
- Breeder: J. V. Shields, Jr.
- Pedigree: Lookin At Lucky-Quake Lake, by War Chant
- Trainer: Bill Mott
- Jockey: Flavien Prat
HOW WE ‘CAPPED IT
- Only Nick Hahn of our ‘cappers had Country House in his top four.
- Gary Quill said: If you like betting longshots who have a chance to outrun their odds, maybe this chestnut son of Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky is your horse. Finished second when 49-1 in his second career start, coming up just a half-length short of the win. He’ll be similar odds on the first Saturday in May.
IN YOUR STABLE MAIL
If he posts, you have to expect Maximum Security is the favorite in the Preakness. He was best today and when challenged at the head of the lane, he rebroke to be a clear winner… Game Winner was wide throughout but kept on grinding to be in a group of horses vying for the show honors.
I believe that Bill Mott had a lot to do with the decision of the stewards. Big money trainer over the little trainer, Jaso Servis. If the stewards felt there was an infraction, there would have been an inquiry. Racing is a big business and the big money always wins. The way I feel with the track being very muddy and twenty horses in the race, it is very hard to keep a straight path. I am curious if the jockey or the trainer made the objection.