By Dick Downey
Maximum Security owner Gary West wants to bet $5 million against each of the four horses directly involved in the Kentucky Derby stewards' decision in head-to-head matchups.
He said if that amount is too rich for their blood, he's willing to make the stake $1.86 million, the amount of purse money that was denied to West when stewards disqualified his horse to 17th in the Derby.
The offer, made today, must be accepted prior to any given race in order to take effect.
West named Country House, War of Will, Bodepxress and Long Range Toddy as the challenged horses. Country House was made the Derby winner by stewards. The other three horses were named by stewards as affected by Maximum Security when he veered out in the race. West is on record, as well as attorneys for Luis Saez, that War of Will initiated contact that led to the fracas.
In a release, West said that the offers “have no bearing and nothing to do with his horse’s disqualification in the Kentucky Derby.” But it appears they do.
West said he will donate any winnings from the head-to-head bets to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund.
West has filed a federal lawsuit in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky challenging the disqualification.
The release states the bet will be accepted with “no restrictions as to the type of race, what racetrack it is held at, or the distance or the track surface.” It goes on to say the “offer is valid only for the next time Maximum Security meets any of the aforementioned horses in a race, whether it is the same race or in four separate races.”
West owns Maximum Security with his wife, Mary. He's a telecommunications billionaire.