LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Hall of Fame and two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert used some harsh words to describe Saturday's controversial Kentucky Derby ruling.
Maximum Security crossed the finish line first on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, but was disqualified after a tense, 22-minute inquiry deemed he bothered multiple horses near the top of the stretch as the 19-horse pack headed for home.
Country House was later declared the winner. His jockey, Flavien Prat, as well as Jon Court, who rode Long Range Toddy, both claimed foul against Maximum Security.
The overturned result caused a firestorm on social media, as well as across the racing industry.
The legendary Baffert told Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden on Sunday that “no one ever calls an objection in the Derby.”
“It’s always a roughly run race,” Baffert told Layden. “Twenty-horse field. I have been wiped out numerous times, but that is the Derby. I can see by the book why they did it. But sometimes you’ve got to take your ass-kickings with dignity.”
Baffert also heaped praise on Maximum Security, whose owner, Gary West, said Monday he will consider an appeal, and likely won’t run his horse in the Preakness on May 18. West and his wife Mary also own Game Winner, Saturday’s fifth-place finisher trained by Baffert, who trains other horses for the West.
“One thing that got lost in all of this is Maximum Security is the real deal,” Baffert told Layden. “He’s the best three-year-old in the country.”
In addition to Game Winner, Baffert’s two other horses -- Improbable (4th), and Roadster (15th) -- missed the board Saturday.