Kentucky Derby disqualification cost bettors millions of dollars

Kentucky Derby bettors paid a hefty price when officials opted to disqualify race winner Maximum Security for interfering with the path of another horse.

Gamblers placed wagers totaling more than $6.2 million on Maximum Security to win the race, as well as a further $1.5 million on the horse to place, or finish second, and roughly $1.3 million to show, or finish third, according to Twin Spires, the online betting partner for Churchill Downs. As a result, the outright disqualification cost bettors at least $9 million.

Twin Spires said it would refund up to $10 to bettors who placed bets on Maximum Security. Aside from value of the bets themselves, total winnings on Maximum Security would have amounted to $42 million, and potentially much higher, the Action Network reported.

Maximum Security’s disqualification was the first of its kind in Kentucky Derby history. As a result, the horse was placed 17th and Country House, a 65 to 1 longshot, was named the winning horse.

Maximum Security’s owner, Gary West, filed to appeal the decision and said the horse would not participate in the upcoming Preakness Stakes. However, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission denied the request within hours on Monday and said the stewards' decision to disqualify the horse was final, Fox News reported.

"Winning it was the most euphoric thing I have probably ever had in our lives, and disappointment when they took the horse down for the first time in history, we were stunned, shocked and in total disbelief. It had never been done before,” West said during an appearance on the “Today” show.


Churchill Downs said total wagers on this year’s Kentucky Derby increased 10 percent to a record $165.5 million. Total bets for the entire weekend of races increased 11 percent to $250.9 million.