Kentucky Derby Favorite Disqualified After Finishing First

After a lengthy review, 65–1 Country House was named the winner.

Horses crossing the finish line in the Kentucky Derby.
Country House crosses the finish line in second to win the Kentucky Derby on May 4.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

For the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby, the horse that crossed the finish line first was not crowned the winner. Maximum Security appeared to win by one and three-quarter lengths on Saturday, but celebrations were cut short as officials reviewed footage of the race to determine whether the horse had bumped into War of Will at the final turn. After a protracted period of deliberation, Maximum Security was disqualified and second-place Country House was announced as the winner.

There’s the old question jockeys get about whether or not a horse knows he’s won a race, but, in this instance, everyone at Churchill Downs was equally confused. If you ever wanted to see “Dewey Defeats Truman” played out with horses, today is your lucky day.

According to ESPN, Country House’s jockey filed a rider’s objection after the finish to complain that Maximum Security had veered into another horse’s path. After video review, race officials disqualified the 9–2 favorite for committing the equine equivalent of changing lanes without checking his blind spot.

With the favorite knocked out, Country House—a 65–1 long shot—was crowned as the winner of the 145th Kentucky Derby. Code of Honor was bumped up to second after the disqualification, and Tacitus came in third.

It may not have been as exciting as a photo finish, but winning after an extended video review was certainly a novel way to come in first.