2019 Kentucky Derby Recap with Facts and Figures, Video, Trivia and Connections Quotes
Country House Declared Kentucky Derby Winner by Stewards
By Dick Downey
Posted May 4, 2019
For the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby, the winner was disqualified by stewards based on a finding of a foul during the running of the race. As a result, Country House was declared the winner after Maximum Security prevailed by 1 3/4 length.
At 65-1 odds, Country House returned his $2 ticket supporters $132.40 to win, $56.60 to place and $24.60 to show.
Maximum Security was taken completely off the board and placed 17th.
Stewards ruled that Maximum Security caused interference with War of Will that led to Long Range Toddy, who was fading from contention, being taken up leaving the far turn. Long Range Toddy finished 17th but was moved up to 16th. War of Will, who quickly recovered after being checked, faded in the stretch to finish eighth. He was moved up to seventh.
The decision by stewards resulted in Code of Honor, who was beaten 2 1/2 lengths, being placed second instead of third. Tacitus was moved from fourth to third after losing by 3 1/4 lengths, and Improbable, the 4-1 post-time favorite, was elevated from fifth to fourth.
Maximum Security, who was favored on the tote board throughout the day until just before the gate opened, was sent off as the 9-2 second choice.
To read more about Country House, his background and connections, click here.
Shortly after Maximum Security crossed the finish line ahead of second finisher Country House, track announcer Travis Stone announced that the crowd should hold all tickets based on a jockey objection between the top two finishers. The track's video board reflected that only those two horses were involved.
Neither the rider of War of Will nor the rider of Long Range Toddy registered an objection that was announced to the crowd during a 22 minute wait. A stewards inquiry was not displayed or announced.
After what seemed to be an eternity, Maximum Security was taken down, and his number was erased from the top five finishers.
It was the first Kentucky Derby win for Bill Mott, a Hall of Fame trainer with over 5,000 wins. Flavien Prat, who was declared the winning jockey, also earned his first Kentucky Derby victory, albeit in a manner unique in the history of the race.
The outcome of the race sparked confusion and outrage on social media Following the race, Gary West, owner of Maximum Security said he would review the matter and decide whether to pursue litigation.
Following the race, the stewards appeared in the Churchill Downs Media Center, read a statement and refused to answer questions.
"The jockey of COUNTRY HOUSE lodged an objection against MAXIMUM SECURITY for interference nearing the five-sixteenths marker. Following the Stewards review MAXIMUM SECURITY was disqualified from first and placed seventeenth for veering out and stacking up WAR OF WILL, LONG RANGE TODDY, and BODEXPRESS."
Oral Statement from Chief Steward Barbara Borden
The stewards issued this written statement via the Churchill Downs public relations department. They refused to take questions from assembled media following this statement.
"Hello, good evening. The riders of the 18 (Long Range Toddy) and 20 (Country House) horses in the Kentucky Derby lodged objections against the 7 (Maximum Security) horse, the winner, due to interference turning for home, leaving the 1/4 pole.
"We had a lengthy review of the race. We interviewed affected riders. We determined that the 7 horse drifted out and impacted the progress of Number 1 (War of Will), in turn, interfering with the 18 and 21 (Bodexpress). Those horses were all affected, we thought, by the interference.
"Therefore, we unanimously determined to disqualify Number 7 and place him behind the 18, the 18 being the lowest‑placed horse that he bothered, which is our typical procedure."
2019 Kentucky Derby Facts, Figures
Winning Connections and Other Facts about Country House Trainer: Bill Mott
Owner: Mrs. J. V. Shields, Jr., M. McFadden, Jr. & LNJ Foxwoods (Larry, Nanci and Jamie Roth)
Breeder: J. V. Shields, Jr.
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike (CAN), Private Feeling)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Quake Lake (War Chant, Shooting Party)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-7-11-1-0 (24) 2.69
Foal Date: May 8, 2016
Auction Purchase: Not sold at public auction
The Top Five Finishers 1. Country House
2. Code of Honor
5. Game Winner
The winner, Maximum Security, was disqualified and placed 17th.
Country House's Fractions: 23.66, 47.57, 1:13.35, 1:38.65, 2:04.28
Country House's Internal Fractions: He went the first quarter mile of the Kentucky Derby in 23.66, the second quarter in 23.91, the third in 25.78, the fourth in 25.30 and the final quarter mile in 25.63.
Winning Margin: Country House lost by 1 3/4 lengths
Purse: $3,000,000. First $1,860,000; second $600,000; third $300,000; fourth $150,000; fifth $90,000
Country House: $132.40 to win, $56.60 to place and $24.60 to show. The win payoff was the second-highest in the history of the Derby.
Code of Honor: $15.20 to place, $9.80 to show
Tacitus: $5.60 to show
After the disqualification of the winner, Improbable fourth, Game Winner fifth, Roadster 15th
Battle of the Mott Horses
After the disqualification of the winner, Country House first, Tacitus third
Battle of the Pletcher Horses After the disqualification of the winner, Cutting Humor 10th. Spinoff finished 18th.
Best, Worst in Proportion to Odds
Best finish of a low-odds horse: Maximum Security, first across the finish line at 9-2 odds.
Worst finish of a low-odds horse: Game Winner, elevated to fifth at 6-1.
Best finish of a high-odds horse: Country House was 65-1
Worst finish of a high-odds horse: Gray Magician was last at 33-1
Finish Position of the Recent Grade I Winners
Florida Derby winner Maximum Security finished first but was disqualified to 17th
Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster was elevated to 15th
Arkansas Derby winner Omaha Beach was scratched
Finish Position of the Recent Grade II Winners
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Vekoma was elevated to 12th
Wood Memorial winner Tacitus was elevated to third
Show Bet in the Derby
Country House paid $24.60 to show at 65-1 odds
Code of Honor paid $9.80 to show.at 14-1 odds
Tacitus paid $5.60 to show at 5-1 odds
Winner Lengths from Pace
At a quarter-mile: 6 3/4
At a half-mile: 4 3/4
At six furlongs: 4 1/4
At one mile: head
At 1 1/8 mile: 1
KENTUCKY DERBY 145 CHART BY POST POSITION
Race 12 - Post Time 6:50 p.m. ET - $3,000,000 guaranteed
Post 1 vacant
WAR OF WILL (KY)
Flaxman Holdings Limited
9th La Derby
Hugh Lynch, Corms Racing Stable (Lucas Stritsman), Dean Reeves & Raymond Hill III
Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider
2d Wood Memorial
BY MY STANDARDS (KY)
Allied Racing Stable, LLC (Chester Thomas)
1st La Derby
GRAY MAGICIAN (KY)
D Van Dyke
Wachtel Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Gary Barber
Twin Creeks Farm
2d UAE Derby
I Ortiz Jr
WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and Starlight Racing
St. George Farm LLC & G. Watts Humphrey Jr.
2d Ak Derby
R. A. Hill Stable & Gatsas Stable
Alpha Delta Stables, LLC
1st Blue Grass S.
MAXIMUM SECURITY (KY)
Gary and Mary West
Gary & Mary West Stables, Inc.
1st Fl Derby
Juddmonte Farms (Khalid Abdullah)
1st Wood Memorial
PLUS QUE PARFAIT (KY)
R Santana Jr.
Imperial Racing, LLC
Calloway Stables, LLC
1st UAE Derby
CUTTING HUMOR (KY)
Dell Hancock & Bernie Sams
1st Sun Derby
Shadwell Farm, LLC
3d Wood Memorial
OMAHA BEACH (KY)
Fox Hill Farms, Inc.
1st Ak Derby
CODE OF HONOR (KY)
W. S. Farish
W. S. Farish
3d Fl Derby
WIN WIN WIN (FL)
Live Oak Plantation
Live Oak Plantation
2d Blue Grass
MASTER FENCER (JPN)
Katsumi and Yasuyo Yoshizawa
2d Fukuryu S.
GAME WINNER (KY)
Gary and Mary West
Summer Wind Equine
2d SA Derby
Speedway Stable LLC
1st SA Derby
LONG RANGE TODDY (KY)
Willis Horton Racing LLC
Willis Horton Racing LLC
6th Ak Derby
Wertheimer and Frere
Wertheimer et Frere
2d La Derby
Mrs. J. V. Shields, Jr. & E. J. M. McFadden, Jr.
J. V. Shields, Jr.
3d Ak Derby
Top Racing LLC & Global Thoroughbreds LLC
Martha Jane Mulholland
2d Fl Derby
Owners: 1 - Gary Barber ; 2 - R. A. Hill Stable (Raymond A. Hill, III), Reeves Thoroughbred Racing (Dean Reeves), Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable (Lucas Stritsman) ; 3 - Allied Racing Stable, LLC (Chester Thomas) ; 4 - Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners (Aron Wellman), Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable (Adam Wachtel) ; 5 - WinStar Farm, LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club (Ah Khing Teo) and Starlight Racing (Jack Wolf, et al.) ; 6 - Gatsas Stable, LLC (Michael Gatsas) and R. A. Hill Stable (Raymond A. Hill, III) ; 7 - Gary and Mary West Owner Link ; 8 - Juddmonte Farms, Inc. (Khalid Abdullah) ; 9 - Imperial Racing, LLC (Michael Foley) ; 10 - Starlight Racing (Jack Wolf, et al.) Owner Link ; ; ; 13 - W. S. Farish ; 14 - Live Oak Plantation (Mrs. Charlotte C. Weber) ; 15 - Katsumi Yoshizawa ; 16 - Gary and Mary West Owner Link ; 17 - Speedway Stables, LLC (Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner) ; 18 - Willis Horton Racing, LLC (Willis D. Horton) ; 19 - Wertheimer and Frere (Alain and Gerard Wertheimer) ; 20 - Mrs. J. V. Shields, Jr., E. J. M. McFadden, Jr. and LNJ Foxwoods (Larry, Nancy and Jaime Roth) Owner Link ; 21 - Top Racing, LLC (Lucas Noriega), Global Thoroughbred (Rafael Celis) and GDS Racing Stable (Gustavo Delgado)
Breeders: 1 - Flaxman Holdings Limited; 2 - Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider; 3 - Don Ladd; 4 - Twin Creeks Farm; 5 - St. George Farm LLC & G. WattsHumphrey Jr.; 6 - Alpha Delta Stables, LLC; 7 - Gary & Mary West Stables, Inc.; 8 - Juddmonte Farms Inc.; 9 - Calloway Stables, LLC; 10 - Dell Hancock & Bernie Sams; 13 - W. S. Farish; 14 - Live Oak Stud; 15 - Katsumi Yoshizawa; 16 - Summer Wind Equine; 17 - Stone Farm; 18 - Willis Horton Racing LLC; 19 - Wertheimer et Frere; 20 - J. V. Shields, Jr.; 21 - Martha Jane Mulholland
Pedigrees (Sire - Dam, by Dam Sire): 1 - War Front - Visions of Clarity (IRE) , by Sadler's Wells ; 2 - Arch - Toll , by Giant's Causeway ; 3 - Goldencents - A Jealous Woman , by Muqtarib ; 4 - Graydar - Burg Berg , by Johannesburg ; 5 - City Zip - Rare Event , by A.P. Indy ; 6 - Candy Ride (ARG) - Mona de Momma , by Speightstown ; 7 - New Year's Day - Lil Indy , by Anasheed ; 8 - Tapit - Close Hatches , by First Defence ; 9 - Point of Entry - Belvedera , by Awesome Again ; 10 - First Samurai - Pun , by Pulpit ; 13 - Noble Mission (GB) - Reunited , by Dixie Union ; 14 - Hat Trick (JPN) - Miss Smarty Pants , by Smarty Jones ; 15 - Just a Way (JPN) - Sexy Zamurai , by Deputy Minister ; 16 - Candy Ride (ARG) - Indyan Giving , by A.P. Indy ; 17 - Quality Road - Ghost Dancing , by Silver Ghost ; 18 - Take Charge Indy - Pleasant Song , by Unbridled's Song ; 19 - Hard Spun - Zaftig , by Gone West ; 20 - Lookin At Lucky - Quake Lake , by War Chant ; 21 - Bodemeister - Pied a Terre , by City Zip
POST-RACE TRAINER QUOTES
Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security (1s, DQ’d to 17th) – "I don't think it changed the outcome of the race. It looks like something scared him in the infield, but I haven't been able to watch it that close.I feel bad for the Wests. I feel bad for the owners, the Wests. It looked like he ducked out a little bit. It's tough. It hasn't sunk in yet, but it will."
"I saw 22 and I was concerned and 46. I thought it was too fast, but he threw his ears up, I thought he was getting a breather and he'd be OK. He did seem to duck out a little, but when he (Luis Saez) set him down, he was impressive.”
Bill Mott, trainer of Country House (1st) and Tacitus (3rd) – Pre DQ: “If it were a maiden 10 claimer, he would come down. I wish they would have left the track sealed because they get more kickback when they leave it like this, but he handled the track really well in Arkansas. You’re supposed to keep a straight line when you’re riding and there shouldn’t be a difference between a maiden 10k and the Kentucky Derby. It’s not supposed to matter between the two. I’m just waiting to see what the stewards decide. There was definitely a foul in the race. My horses didn’t get bothered terribly. Country House got bumped just a little bit, but there were a couple jocks who almost went down in there. I know what I naturally would like to happen, but I have no control over it at this point. There’s over 100,000 people here and they don’t want to make that call, but it’s their duty to do the right thing and I hope they do. I was second and fourth (past the finish) and I’m proud of my horses. I think they’re fair and I think they want to be fair, but there were a couple horses who nearly went down in the race and I think those horses, it eliminated all chance for them. It looked like he bore out at the 5/16ths and he forced some horses to come together. There were a couple jocks who had to stand straight up at a very critical time in the race. I can’t say that he bothered my horse that badly and I’m not going to moan about that. It’s really between the horses that he bothered and the winner. My horses ran well. I’m pleased. It took Tacitus a little while to get on track but he came flying at the end.”
Post DQ: “I think the horse ran great. I was pleased with the position he had and the way Flavien (Prat) rode him. The horse responded for him. (As far as the disqualification), it’s bittersweet and I’d be lying if I said It was any different. You say you always want to win with a clean trip and everyone recognize the horse as the as the great athlete he is and due to the DQ some of that is diminished. Two horses lost all chance to win a Kentucky Derby and they were in a position at the time to hit the board. People bet on these horses and millions are bet on these races. I know the stewards had a very difficult decision. With that being said, I’m damn glad they put our number up.”
Shug McGaughey, trainer of Code of Honor (2nd) – “He ran a good race. He just cut the corner and it looked like we were going to be home free. But I think he got to looking at the crowd a little bit, according to John. Then the horses ran away from him again, and he was finished. But he ran a good race. We’ll get him back and see what’s happening to him, and go from there.”
Bob Baffert, trainer of Improbable (4th), Game Winner (5th) and Roadster (15th) – “I told them that was the horse to beat (Maximum Security). I told him be thankful you didn’t lose him for $16,000 or else you’d be throwing up all over you horse right now. The field never got separated they were all right there. It was like a kids’ soccer game, they were all right there. I knew the first quarter of a mile I knew I was toast. The problem is (Improbable) couldn’t get out, the six (Vekoma) wouldn’t let him out. He could not get out. I told my riders to stay clean, they don’t listen to me. “
Koichi Tsunoda, trainer of Master Fencer (6th) – “He didn’t break that well, but we knew he’d break slowly. He made a huge effort in the stretch. I’m really pleased with how we finished so close to the other quality horses in the race. Great effort by horse and rider. If he comes out of this well, I want to take him to the Belmont (Stakes) next.”
Mark Casse, trainer of War of Will (7th) – “Yeah, we got bothered too. We almost clipped heels with (Maximum Security). We got excited. The horse ducked out and that’s when we nearly clipped heels. Tyler (Gaffalione) said he felt great. He said if he could have gotten him to relax a little he thought he would finish a little better. I have to talk to Gary (Barber) about (the Preakness) but maybe.”
Brendan Walsh, trainer of Plus Que Parfait (8th) – “I’m thrilled with him. I thought he ran his heart out. I couldn’t ask for anything more. He ran his race. He had as good a trip as you’re probably going to get. He’s not beaten very far at all and went all the way to Dubai and came back and ran his race. For a second thought it could maybe happen and he gave me a thrill. He showed he could run with these horses. He was no 54-1 shot.”
Mike Trombetta, trainer of Win Win Win (9th) – “No real excuses. The rider said he seemed to struggle with the kickback and climbing a little bit. But other than that, he had an OK trip. Today wasn’t his day.”
Todd Pletcher, trainer of Cutting Humor (10th), Spinoff (18th) – “We got the trips we wanted to get with them. Spinoff was forwardly placed and Cutting Humor was following behind him. Spinoff just hated the track, though. He didn’t really want any part of it. I had a hint about that earlier in the week when he galloped on the ‘off’ and showed us he didn’t care for it. When Manny (Franco) went to riding him today, he just backed right out of there. Cutting Humor had a good trip and closed some ground late. He didn’t disgrace us. Both colts seemed to come back fine. We’ll be back another day.”
Bret Calhoun, trainer of By My Standards (11th) – “We lost all chances at the break. The outside horse came back on us pretty hard. I think he came out of it OK. I’m not sure what’s next for him. We’ll take a few days to look at what we want to do.”
“Maybe Mr. Money (winner, Pat Day Mile – GIII) will be the one going to the Preakness. We’ll just take a step back and see what we want to do.”
George Weaver, trainer of Vekoma (12th) – “At least he came back in one piece. He might have gotten into a little trouble on the turn, but he was starting to back up anyway at that point. I don’t know if he liked the track. It’s a crazy day. He’s a great colt and we’ll get him back over here when he’s right.”
Gustavo Delgado, trainer of Bodexpress (13th) – Had no comment
Danny Gargan, trainer of Tax (14th) – Had no comment
Steve Asmussen, trainer of Long Range Toddy (16th) – “it was very unfortunate that it rained. He doesn’t do well on an ‘off’ track. But he was in a good position and then, as we know, the race got real rough.”
Peter Miller, trainer of Gray Magician (19th) – “The horse bled a two out of five and we are going to give him a little break and bring him back in 30 or 45 days.”
POST-RACE JOCKEY QUOTES
Luis Saez, rider of Maximum Security (1st, DQ’d to 17th) – “I thought I never put anybody in danger. My horse shied away from the noise of the crowd and may have ducked out a little."
Flavien Prat, rider of Country House (1st) –“The race was great. He broke well and put me in the right spot. He was cruising the whole way. I was closer than I thought I would be and then when we hit the final turn, he was just dragging me. I moved him out and made a nice move at the quarter pole. Then, that horse just drifted out, kind of turned me sideways, and there were two horses inside of us. After that, I straightened up, he made a good move and that was it.”
(On claiming foul) “It was a wide move and I thought they (the stewards) had to look at it. Like we said, it slightly bothered us, but it also bothered the two horses inside of us which is I thought they should look at it.”
John Velazquez, rider of Code of Honor (2nd) – “My horse ran great. The rail opened up great for me. It was like ‘Open Sesame.’ I was like “Wow, this never happens.” I thought I was going to win it. He ran like a green horse down the stretch. He was definitely affected by what was happening to his outside.”
Jose Ortiz, rider of Tacitus (3rd) – “My horse ran a huge race. We were a little unlucky since the pace didn’t collapse. Those were good horses in the lead. Country House ran a huge race, too. My horse was digging in late. I had no excuse. In the Belmont, he will be much better running 1 1/2 miles.”
Irad Ortiz Jr., rider of Improbable (4th) – “My horse didn’t really like the track. I asked him to keep up and he just could not.”
Joel Rosario, rider of Game Winner (5th) – “I thought he was going to be sharper at the gate. He broke OK but he stayed there for a little bit. I tried to push him a little early. I thought I was going to be OK because they were going fast at the beginning but he struggled the last three furlongs. He also had a little trouble with the track.”
Julien Leparoux, rider of Master Fencer (JPN) (6th) – “I very much appreciate the connections of this horse for allowing me the opportunity to ride in the Derby.”
Tyler Gaffalione, rider of War of Will (7th) – “I really thought I was going to win the Derby. I checked pretty hard when the seven (Maximum Security) came out as far as he did.”
Ricardo Santana Jr., rider of Plus Que Parfait (8th) – “I thought my horse ran a solid effort. He may not have liked the surface.”
Julian Pimentel, rider of Win Win Win (9th) – “We broke very well from the gate. I was in a great position but I don’t think my horse handled the sloppy track. He tried to make progress but he was spinning over the ground.”
Mike Smith, rider of Cutting Humor (10th) – “He ran good. He’s a nice horse but he is still learning out there.”
Gabriel Saez, rider of By My Standards (11th) – No quote.
Javier Castellano, rider of Vekoma (12th) – “It just wasn’t his day today.”
Chris Landeros, rider of Bodexpress (13th) – “I was able to get into a good spot after breaking that far wide. We were in a good spot in the far turn but I had to check pretty hard after the seven (Maximum Security) came out.”
Junior Alvarado, rider of Tax (14th) – “My horse was bothered by the splash in his face. He was not happy about that. He kept trying but he was focused on the mud being kicked in his face.”
Florent Geroux, rider of Roadster (15th) – “I am disappointed to be honest. He broke all right but never traveled down the stretch the first time. He started picking up horses down the backside, but when I hit the half- mile pole, I was just out of horse. I am not sure if he didn’t like the track but it felt like he never ran.”
Jon Court, rider of Long Range Toddy (16th) – “Well, at least I am still the oldest rider ever to ride in the Derby. It was a lot of fun but I had to stop very abruptly.”
Manny Franco, rider of Spinoff (18th) – “I didn’t think my horse handled the track very well. He felt uncomfortable. From the half-mile pole, I started to ask him for run but he was struggling.”
Drayden Van Dyke, rider of Gray Magician (19th) – “I had a beautiful trip; no trouble whatsoever. He seemed to handle the track well but I just ran out of horse. We’ll come back and fight another day.”
FULL TRANSCRIPT: WINNING CONNECTIONS PRESS CONFERENCE
JIM MULVIHILL: Country House is the second‑longest prize Kentucky Derby winner ever, paying $132.40. We're thrilled now to be joined by these first‑time Kentucky Derby winners, starting, of course, with our hall of fame trainer and Churchill Downs legend Bill Mott on the far end; winning jockey, Flavien Prat. Congratulations to you.
FLAVIEN PRAT: Thank you.
JIM MULVIHILL: From the far side towards me, we have Guinness McFadden, followed by Mrs. Maury Shields, whose late husband, Jerry Shields, was the owner and breeder of this horse. Congratulations to you as well.
MRS. J.V. SHIELDS JR.: Thank you.
JIM MULVIHILL: And then representing LNJ Foxwoods, Jamie Roth, as well as racing manager Alex Solis II. So a round of applause for these folks.
A historic Derby, the first time a winner has been put up via disqualification.
Bill Mott, can you just tell us about your thoughts throughout waiting out the inquiry and how it feels to win your first Kentucky Derby in general, as well as this way.
BILL MOTT: Well, first of all, I think our horse ran great. You know, I was really pleased with the position he had. I was pleased with the way Flavien rode him and the way the horse responded for him.
You know, as far as the win goes, it's bittersweet. I would be lying if I said it was any different. You always want to win with a clean trip and have everybody recognize the horse as the very good horse and for the great athlete that he is. I think, due to the disqualification, probably some of that is diminished. But this is horse racing.
There were two horses in the race that lost all chance to win a Kentucky Derby, and they were in position at the time to hit the board. And people bet on these races. There's millions of dollars that are bet. And there are some people that bet on the two horses that got bothered, and they had no chance to get a placing.
And I know the stewards had a very, very difficult decision. I mean, I'm glad I wasn't in their shoes. I'm glad I didn't have to make the decision in front of over a hundred thousand people and the millions of people that are watching this on TV and around the world.
But with that being said, I'm damn glad they put our number up.
JIM MULVIHILL: Flavien, the incident that resulted in the disqualification did not necessarily affect you very much, but we'd still like to hear what you were aware of coming to the 1/4 pole. And, also, if you could take us through your entire trip.
FLAVIEN PRAT: Well, the entire trip was good. He broke well and just put me in the race. He was traveling really well the entire race. And once I got him outside and I started to make my move, well, Maximum Security, he kind of drift out and turned us sideways. Like you say, the two horse inside of me had a lot more trouble than I did, but it affect me anyway.
JIM MULVIHILL: And just tell us what it's like to win a Kentucky Derby.
FLAVIEN PRAT: Well, it felt pretty good actually. It's a great moment. It's a dream come true. Coming from Europe, Breeders' Cup was a bigger deal for me. But as soon as I rode the first year here, I was in the grandstands and I watched this race, and it's amazing. I mean, there's no race like the Kentucky Derby. And I was hoping to one day ride it, ride the Derby, and to win it. And it's done today. I'm really happy and blessed.
JIM MULVIHILL: Mrs. Shields, we'd love to hear from you, pretty poignant win. Your feelings over the last half hour watching the race and waiting for the result and winning a Kentucky Derby with the homebred.
MRS. J.V. SHIELDS JR.: Well, it's very exciting because Jerry bred the horse. He's a homebred. And I just thank Billy Mott for training him, Flavien for riding him, and for this incredible win. It will take a while for it to sink in. Thank you.
Q. Mr. Mott, congratulations on your first Derby win. Country House was sitting ninth early in the race. He had previously used closing tactics in his career. Was it the plan to have him more forwardly placed in the race?
BILL MOTT: No. I thought we would probably be out the back, and I expressed my thoughts to Flavien just to be patient with him, let him break. I didn't feel he had a lot of early gait speed. When he was laying in close proximity to the leaders, I was a little surprised. But I could tell that he was really traveling well. He wasn't running off, but he was traveling very well. He handled the slot very well.
He's a horse that's ‑‑ he's been on the improve. He's been a big backward type of horse. When he was a 2‑year‑old, he was one of those that didn't show us a lot until he got in the fall of the year and we ran him a couple times. And it seemed like the lightbulb was starting to come on.
I've been telling people all winter that when we ‑‑ if this horse ever wakes up and figures out, really, what he's doing, that the mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby is certainly within his reach and not to discount him.
And we were right today. I mean, he showed up. He showed up in a big way. I think everybody showed up in a big way. Everybody that's been in contact with this horse has showed up in a big way. Everybody has done a great job from before the time that I got him. There's so much that goes into getting these horses to this point, whether it's the farm people that raise the horse, the people that make the ‑‑ do the matings.
And there's a lot of hurdles to jump over. And just to get him to the race is such an honor and, really, such an accomplishment, not just for me but for everybody that deals with him.
I mean, I'm fortunate enough to just be the spokesman for everybody that has put their hands on this horse and put some thought into getting him ready, from the mating to walking into that circle at Churchill Downs.
And I got to tell you, it's a pretty special event and it's ‑‑ you know, why do it the easy way? You know what I mean?
This is kind of an unusual way to get to the Winner's Circle with having the DQ in the race. But I would say the stewards, in my opinion, I think they made the right call. And I will try to look at it from an unbiased point of view. I know they looked at it for a long, long time. And I'm sure that they didn't want to do it; but, as I said before, if it was an ordinary race on a Wednesday, I think they definitely would have taken the winner down.
I think that's the only way we can really look at it. And if we need any ‑‑ to rationalize it at all, I think that's ‑‑ I think that's how I've got to look at it. But I'm ‑‑ nonetheless, I'm pleased with everybody that's, as I said, been in contact. And my staff, they've all done a wonderful job. And they've all worked with a Kentucky Derby winner now.
Q. Bill, obviously, great result for you. What kind of result do you think this is for the sport of horse racing, that you have the first time a Kentucky Derby winner has been taken down like that?
BILL MOTT: Well, I mean, it will ‑‑ it's something that will give somebody a lot to talk about for a long time. I mean, they'll be speaking about the result of this race from now until they run the next Kentucky Derby and the next ten Kentucky Derbys and 20 Kentucky Derbys. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if this race shows up on TV over and over and over a year from now.
There's always a lot of controversy in this sport, and we're probably going to be involved in it from now on. But I'm going to take it. I'm just pleased for the owners and the breeders of this horse that have put so much into the game. I'm really glad to be sitting up here on this stage with them.
JIM MULVIHILL: Bill, a lot of the time there would be an expectation that, in a race this big, there would be a certain amount of race riding. Do you have thoughts on whether, in general, riders should be allowed a little more leeway in a race of this stature versus adjudicating by the letter of the law?
BILL MOTT: I don't really think this was race riding. I think the horse did this on his own. I mean, for me to watch it, I'd have to watch it again and again. And maybe somebody else can point something else out to me. But I don't think Luis Saez did anything intentionally. I think his horse was green. He could have been shying from the inside. He could have been ‑‑ you know, he's an inexperienced horse. He's only run three or four times. And he's probably never seen anything like this before.
I can't answer why he did it, but it looked like he came off his inside lead at the 5/16 pole. And when he did, he came out three paths, and he bothered two horses. And Luis is a friend of mine. He rides for me. I've got friendships with the connections of that horse. And, you know, my heart actually aches a little bit for them, but that's the way it is. I've been on the other end of it plenty of times, just not in the Kentucky Derby.
Q. Bill, how do you liken this experience, just this moment, compared to everything you went through with Cigar?
BILL MOTT: That was a pretty special time. And the run with Cigar lasted almost 2 1/2 years. So there was a lot of pressure. We came over today, and we were bound to enjoy the day and have a good time. And I think Guinness and Mrs. Shields and the Roths all came here. I don't know that our expectations were that we were going to wind up in the Winner's Circle. But I think, naturally, everybody was hopeful.
But I think it was just a real thrill to find out that the decision that we collectively made to run this horse in the Kentucky Derby worked out. I think it's been a great team effort, and everybody was willing to go ahead and give it a shot.
As you could see looking at the tote board, there was a lot of people that probably didn't think we could win. But that's horse racing.
Q. Guinness, could you talk about the family involvement of you and this horse. And, also, if you guys could talk about how the partnership was formed with everybody on this horse.
GUINNESS McFADDEN: Sure. Obviously, I think it was a fourth‑generation homebred of Jerry's. So four dams back, he's been breeding this family.
Q. The human family connection.
GUINNESS McFADDEN: Me? I had nothing to do with it.
I'm just, I guess, the owner on paper, one of the owners. Jerry passed away and left the horses to us. So that's how it happened.
JIM MULVIHILL: The partnership with LNJ.
GUINNESS McFADDEN: Give me a second. We've just been working with Alex and Jason for a long time. It just seemed like the right thing to do. It's always fun to do it with other people, and the Roths are great. We thought we had a good horse. And, I don't know, it just happened.
BILL MOTT: This horse broke his maiden at Gulfstream in very impressive fashion. I called Guinness after he crossed the finish line, and I said, "Guinness," I said, "Your phone is going to be ringing off the hook." And I think he was traveling at the time. And so we had a conversation about it. I think his phone was ringing off the hook, which he told me about later.
But he was ‑‑ as he said, he's had an association with Jason and Alex. And I think he felt comfortable. They wanted to buy a piece of the horse. And I think he thought they were the right people to go with. And I think he probably wanted them to enjoy this horse as much as he was at the time, because he was a very impressive maiden winner when he won at Gulfstream.
So when people see that early in a horse's 3‑year‑old year, it's like, all of a sudden, everybody wants to be part of a horse that is a good horse and has the possibility to go to the Kentucky Derby.
Is that fair to say?
GUINNESS McFADDEN: No, that's exactly what happened. I probably had 10 or 12 offers on the horse. And our goal wasn't necessarily to sell the horse, but I felt like it was ‑‑ Jerry had always told me that it was never my business to own horses that valuable.
You never think you're going to win the Derby, obviously. We took less money to partner with the Roths. And they're a known quantity. Nothing about the other people was bad. We just knew what to expect from them and have known them for ‑‑ I don't know ‑‑ five, six, seven years. And it's been great.
JIM MULVIHILL: Jaime, can you follow up on the opportunity to be part of this?
JAIME ROTH: It happened very organically. We know the McFaddens and Maury and their relationship with Alex and Jason and Alex and Jason's relationship with us. It was just very seamless. And we were presented with an opportunity to buy a piece of the Kentucky Derby champion now. There were a lot of things to like about the horse.
As Bill said after he won that race at Gulfstream, it was very impressive. And we were all in. To have a chance to own a horse like that with such great people, it's what it's all about. And it's been awesome. Even before today, our relationship with the McFaddens has just changed so much and grown stronger. And it's been a really awesome experience.
But it was very organic. It happened very naturally, which I think speaks volumes about them as individuals. Thank you.
JIM MULVIHILL: Alex, I'm sure there was no hesitation on your part. Did you make the call, or who called who?
ALEX SOLIS: You know, I feel really special to be in this spot because I was lucky enough, when Jerry was alive, Guinness put me in the spot to help him out. So when this colt was entered in the September sale, Guinness and I had talked about it. He said, "What do you think?"
I'm like, "Let's sell the filly; keep the colt." Guinness said, "You think so."
I'm like, "Well, let's talk to Jason." We talked to my partner. And Jason was like, "Yeah, are you kidding me? That's a really nice colt."
So Guinness said, "All right. We're going to Jerry." We met in the lunchroom in Keeneland. The week before, he was booked four, I believe. We talked to Jerry. Jerry's like, "Sounds good." There was no fight. I didn't really expect it. I expected there to be a fight, like let's keep the filly. It never happened.
We're here today, and this all because of Guinness and Bill. They've done a great job managing this horse and I'm really proud. (Applause)
Q. Guinness, I know you've been in this industry for a little while. I was curious if you had ever come close to thinking you were going to get to this point before today and what it feels like to finally be here.
GUINNESS McFADDEN: Actually, I was talking with Michael Wallace last year. And he said it was pretty easy to win the Derby. So I thought I would give it a try. (Laughter)
They won the Triple Crown, so we're not quite there yet with him. But, no, I mean, I had never even ‑‑ nobody wins ‑‑ I don't win the Derby. I don't know anyone who has won the Derby. This isn't something that happens to people that I know. So, no, this is not anything I ever expected to happen. But now that it's happened, I think we'd like to do this next year also. (Laughter)
But, yeah, it's completely out of left field.
JIM MULVIHILL: Bill, people think of you as a conservative trainer, but with this horse, right after the Louisiana Derby, maybe ten minutes later, you said, "we'll probably go to Arkansas and try to get the points." Why was there no hesitation there? Obviously, you knew he was special. But talk about pushing a little bit to give the horse the opportunity and get the points.
BILL MOTT: I really felt he was a horse that probably deserved to run in the Kentucky Derby. I mean, I saw him that way early on the winner ‑‑ after we saw him break his maiden. I thought he was well‑suited to the mile and a quarter. When he ran in Louisiana, of course, we didn't gain much in the way of points in that race, and we needed some more to ensure a spot in the Derby.
And I said all along, I said, this is a big, tough horse. And I said it's not the style now to go back in three weeks or two weeks or whatever. But I said this horse can do it. I said he's a big ‑‑ he's just big and tough and durable, eats the bottom out of ‑‑ he's a dream for a horse trainer because he's just ‑‑ he's won like they trained in the old days. You know what I mean? You used to see these horses run more often.
I mean, they'd run ‑‑ they'd run in the Derby, and they'd run one time before they ran back in the Preakness. So you don't see those kind of things anymore.
But I think this is probably a horse that's had ‑‑ you know, been brought along from a good, solid pedigree. And he's just ‑‑ he was tough enough to take it.
Q. First of all, congratulations, Flavien. Take us through this. What part of Maximum Security's body hit what part of your horse? And how did that impact your horse? What did that cause your horse to do?
FLAVIEN PRAT: Well, we never made contact because there was horses between us. The horse on my inside hit the hip on my horse, so it kind of turned me sideways. And it's at the 1/4 pole, where actually I was making a run, and I kind of lost momentum.
I think it's not only me but also the horses between Maximum Security and Country House who has been ‑‑ who have been affected.
Q. Flavien sort of touched on it, but it's really important that we get this right. Is it fair to say that it is your contention that the interference that was caused by Maximum Security affected your horse's trip or did not?
BILL MOTT: It may have affected it slightly, but I am going to say that it affected two other horses dramatically. If what happened to us was the only thing they were looking at, I don't think you would have seen a disqualification. But it was mainly the other two horses that got bothered the worst, and they lost all chance. And those two horses lost their opportunity to win or place in the Kentucky Derby.
Q. Flavien, one other point of clarification. Did you lodge the claim of foul, or was it one of the other jockeys inside of you?
FLAVIEN PRAT: Yeah, I did ask or claim foul, because, like I say, I mean, I thought he shift out a lot. And we had been slightly bothered in that incident and also the horse inside of me.
Q. Just take me through your thought process as you were sitting through the review. at what point ‑‑ if you thought all along that you would be moved up or if you were thinking, hey, this is probably a long shot. Just kind of your thought process as you were waiting out the objection, the review.
FLAVIEN PRAT: I was just hoping to get placed as the winner, that was my thought.
Q. Did you think it was going to happen?
FLAVIEN PRAT: It took quite long. And, usually, when it takes so long, it's a good sign. But, I mean, I was not in the steward office, obviously.
JAIME ROTH: Like Bill said, I don't think anyone wants to win the Derby the way that it happened for Country House. But, with that being said, I do think he ran his best race to date besides his maiden race. Obviously, this is a Grade I, not a maiden race.
And, more importantly, I believe in the notion that, while it may not have affected us as much as other horses, if that would be taken down on a Wednesday, I think you need to be consistent and take it down on another day, even if it's the Derby.
Again, it's not the way you want to win. But I'm proud of our horse. I think he ran great. And, more importantly, this sport throws curveballs at you every day. I mean, most of the news is not great news. So you're going to take what you can get and run with it. And I don't think, in any of our eyes, it diminishes what the horse did today. And I think we're all going to sleep well tonight and party hard.
So go, Country House!
JIM MULVIHILL: Bill or Guinness, the female side has some graphs and some off‑track pedigree. Do you think that the conditions today moved your horse up?
GUINNESS McFADDEN: I don't know. He seems to like the mud, but I don't know. I was hoping for a fast track. You always want a fast track on Derby day; I wouldn't be so wet right now. But, I mean, obviously, he likes it. I think it's more of a factor of some horses don't like it than him liking it.
BILL MOTT: Yeah, he showed us in the Arkansas Derby that he would run well and close well over that kind of track. Certainly, pedigree has something to do with it. I believe his grandsire is Smart Strike.
Alex, is that correct?
ALEX SOLIS: That's correct.
BILL MOTT: And that's Mr. Prospector line. And I think that's well known to like off‑track. I think it's bred in him to take to an off track.
Q. What's your spring been like? You had Omaha Beach; you got off him. Then you win the Derby in a very unusual way. Just emotionally, what's the spring been like for you?
FLAVIEN PRAT: It's been really emotional. Like you say, I was riding Omaha Beach. Well, it turned out that I made a wrong choice. But, at the end, it turns out great, actually.
ALEX SOLIS: I got the call from Flavien's agent, and he said something that really touched home a lot for me. Because I have known Flavien, because my dad works for Richard Mandella, and I've been close to Richard my whole life. And Flavien started coming over when he was working with the Wertheimers. We became friends the whole time.
And Bill had asked him to ride the horse. And Guinness said, "What do you think?" I said, "We're all good. It would be exciting."
And Flavien called, and he was waiting for Fletcher to either tell him yes or no and kind of humoring him. I was like, "Man, I really would like you to ride this horse." And you never call Flavien; I called him
And Derek called. And he was like, "You know, Flavien said it would mean nothing more to him to ride the Derby for the Roths." That really meant a lot, and I'm really proud to be able to do this together.
FLAVIEN PRAT: Thank you.
Q. Bill, were you a little surprised that the stewards didn't just put up the inquiry sign as opposed to things having to go through the objections?
BILL MOTT: Well, frankly, when I was watching the race, you know what I mean, sometimes you got your eyes on ‑‑ I'm trying to watch two horses in the race plus ‑‑ and it's a big field. So I didn't see exactly what happened.
I mean, I had to look at the film over and over and over myself to really get the real ‑‑ the detail of what happened. One of the other riders in the race was directly behind it. And he said Jose had gotten off of Tacitus. And he said, "You know, there was really a wild incident that took place in front of me," because he had the bird's‑eye view of it.
And, you know, then, of course, they start ‑‑ I don't know who claimed foul to begin with, but then they started showing it over and over. And I was in a little room in the tunnel, and I was watching, watching, watching. And I had to watch it a few times. You know, things happen so quickly out there. But the more I watched, the more I thought, you know what? If it was a Wednesday, you know, the third race on the card, this horse is coming down.
Q. This horse wasn't piling up wins this spring. But you knew in the back of your head that its best distance was a mile and a quarter. As a trainer, is that a challenge to keep your confidence in a horse even though he might not be going in the Winner's Circle each time?
BILL MOTT: You got to believe in something. I believe both horses that we ran today were well suited for the mile and a quarter. It was interesting, because we had another horse in the barn, another nicely bred Juddmonte colt that won off by 15 his first time. And he was probably the talking horse, so to speak.
And all the weight was on his shoulders, and everybody wanted to come see him. They wanted to come see him work. They wanted to talk about him. And I said to whoever would listen ‑‑ I know I was ‑‑ Dave Grenning was riding with me. And one day, I said, "Man, they're overlooking these other two horses. These are really the horses that probably are the ones that are really suited for that particular race."
So we were, you know, first and third, as it turns out.
Q. Being that it appears that Country House's effects from the foul were indirect at this point, are you concerned that there may be any litigation related to the results of the race?
BILL MOTT: You know, I didn't even really want to think about that, because that's ‑‑ that's a nightmare. And it's a no‑win situation for anybody involved. I spoke to the other trainer walking ‑‑ when he was walking out of the tunnel, Jason Servis. And I didn't get a hint of that from him. I think he's been around it long enough, and I'm sure he watched the films well enough.
I think ‑‑ I think the people that own the horse that crossed the finish line first, they're experienced in the business. And, I mean, they could see what happened.
JIM MULVIHILL: Bill, how was that exchange with Jason?
BILL MOTT: Well, I mean, I said, man ‑‑ you know, exactly what I've told you. This is bittersweet. I know how I'd feel if I was in his shoes, to be able to train a Derby winner and then have the horse taken down. But I think he knows what happened.
Q. You're no stranger to this particular track, and yet you hate for the biggest win of your career to be marred by what you called a bittersweet victory. Other than the race itself, what about this day, this week, this Kentucky Derby experience do you want to remember? What really sticks out in your mind?
BILL MOTT: You know what I enjoy the most is just training the horses. I mean, that's what I live for. Get up in the morning, come out and see the horses. And from the time ‑‑ day after the Arkansas Derby, we were here with all the horses. And we had three great weeks. Everybody trained well. Everybody worked well. Horses breezed well. They were doing good. I couldn't have been more pleased with the way they were trained.
And, like, a week ago, I just ‑‑ you know, I was sitting on the pony, and I was talking to Wayne Lucas. And I said, "Man, I wish they would run this thing tomorrow." You get that feeling when things are going really well, really well, and you haven't had any hiccups or bumps in the road. And it seemed like, man, I just want it to get here.
And then I woke up this morning and I said, "Oh, shit. This is here."
You know what I mean? It's like it's ‑‑ finally, it's here and, all of a sudden, it just snuck up on us. You know what I mean? It seemed like, a week ago, I said that. And then, all of a sudden, today is the day. And it's happened so many times before when you're getting ready for a big race.
But I called my assistant on the way in, and we trained both horses at 5:15 this morning. We took them to the track and gave them an easy ‑‑ a little bit of exercise and easy gallop around the racetrack. And we were almost the only ones out there. I think there was probably only two or three other horses on the racetrack.
You want to get through it. You want to get them around there, get them off the gap. Get them home. Get their bath, get them cooled out, get them in the stall, and get them ready to hang the bridle on them this afternoon.
When you've got good horses, you just want to stay out of their way and just not make stupid mistakes. That's what I do. Number one, unfortunately, we always look for something that's wrong, you know what I mean? When you get up in the morning, you look at the horses and you're trying ‑‑ well, is there something that's not right that we've got to fix or we've got to change? And you hate to be negative about anything but that's kind of what we do. It's nuts and bolts to a certain extent. I mean, we've got to try to see what we've got, what we've got to deal with.
Sometimes it causes you not to be real positive when you talk to ‑‑ talk to people about the horses. Sometimes you don't really ‑‑ you're not able to really talk in a real positive manner because you're always looking for something that is a negative that you've got to straighten out.
So when you finally reach a point where the training goes well, it's actually very memorable. And I think just that part of it, you know, means the most to me.
And you want to have ‑‑ we do this not only for ourselves, I mean, I'd do it because I love horses and I love competition. But I have people that I work for, and it's so very important to me to have them satisfied at the end of the day. And sometimes they probably don't know that. But that's really what it's all about for me.
Q. The Japan Cup in 2010, there was a disqualification. And then they then changed their interference rules. Are you guys happy with the interference rules here in America? And would you like to see them changed on the back of this?
FLAVIEN PRAT: I can't hear you.
Q. Are you happy with the interference of regulations here in America? And would you like America to adopt the worldwide interference rules?
FLAVIEN PRAT: Well, on a day like this, yeah, I'm okay with it. I've been in both situations where I'm the one taken down. Obviously not in the Derby. But I've been in that situation, and it's hard. But, I mean, today I'm really happy with it.
Q. In your view, Bill?
BILL MOTT: Can you explain to everybody the difference between the rules and regulations here and what you're talking about?
Q. I don't know what they are here. There's England, Hong Kong. They have a Category 1 rule where it's more the best horse wins rather than the injured party, the interfered one gets demoted.
BILL MOTT: I think the stewards in Kentucky ‑‑ one day I was at Keeneland. I don't know. This must have been 30 years ago. And I had a horse called Iron Pegasus that got turned sideways at the 1/8 pole. The horse came by and [Bill] Shoemaker was on a horse. And he came by my horse and he literally ‑‑ his horse lugged in and hit my horse and turned my horse sideways. Shoemaker went on to win by seven or eight lengths from the 1/8 pole to the wire. He was a clear winner.
And I was very upset my horse had gotten bothered. I called Mr. Dangerfield. At that time, stewards were very respected. I asked him, I said, "Mr. Dangerfield," I said, "Did my horse not get turned sideways at the 1/8 pole?" He said, "Yes, Mr. Mott, he did." He said, "But we here, the stewards here in Kentucky, have a lot of latitude in these matters." And he said, "Your horse was not going to win that race anyhow." So there was no disqualification on that day.
But I'm not so sure that ‑‑ in that case, I accepted what he said and what he told me. And there's been a lot of other incidents that come into question. But I think in today's race, I think there were two horses that were bothered in that race that you nor I or anybody else in this room can tell us how they were going to finish. And the other two horses got bothered at a very critical point in the race.
I mean, you can have a little bumping leaving the starting gate. You can have a little bumping going into the first turn. If you get totally stopped at the 5/16 pole or the 1/4 pole and have to lose four lengths at that point, which it looked to me on the film that one of these horses, when he took up, he slid back four, five lengths. You cannot regain that momentum. So I think it was a judgment call on the stewards' part.
I haven't heard an explanation from them. I'm just guessing that they felt that those horses lost all chance for a placing. And I think they've got a responsibility not only to us, as owners and trainers, but they've got a responsibility to the people that put this show on who are betting on these horses.
And there's ‑‑ we'll look up tomorrow. I don't know how many millions of dollars there were spent, but there were people that bet on those other two horses and those people deserve justice as well.
JIM MULVIHILL: I'd like to direct the last question to Bill, if you wouldn't mind, just thinking back on your decades at Churchill Downs, working out at the same barn as your mentor and, finally, getting a Kentucky Derby win. Can you just elaborate on what it means?
BILL MOTT: It's pretty special. I guess until last year, I held the record here at Churchill Downs for the number of wins. And I think we held the record for over 32 years. So I kind of cut my teeth here.
Being in this position up at this podium is a very special thing. My hope was always to come back and run in the Derby, hopefully to get a horse that's good enough to run in the Derby.
And could I ever have imagined winning it? Well, you always hope.
But I tell the story that the first Derby I heard, I was at Fort Pierre, South Dakota, and I was in front of a GMC van. And I had the AM radio turned on. The van was owned by Keith Asmussen, who is the father of Cash and Steve and they're pretty well‑known. I was 14 years old at the time, I believe.
And I turned the radio on and I heard the call of Proud Clarion winning the Kentucky Derby. And at that point in time, I couldn't even imagine being at Churchill Downs or coming to Churchill Downs. I never thought I would get out of South Dakota to tell you the truth.
And to be here and not only be the leading trainer at Churchill Downs for so many years and making so many acquaintances and having such a good start here and then to, finally, win the Derby, I'll reflect back on this for a long time.