Saturday's running of the Kentucky Derby, my favorite sports day, was steeped in controversy as Maximum Security, the apparent winner was disqualified and placed 17th after a stewards' inquiry.
The foul was claimed by two horses that were interfered with when the colt veered left near the top of the stretch. It was the first time in history that the winning horse was disqualified for a foul.
The foul claim was definitely legitimate and almost caused what would have been a monumental catastrophe. When Maximum Security veered left there was a cauldron of front and rear legs and hooves churning as he tried to right himself and get back in his lane.
Heaven only knows what would have happened had those three horse clipped hooves. But they didn't and the race came down to Maximum Security and another horse that wasn't involved in the interference -- Country House.
The officials of the Derby [three racing stewards] allowed that the apparent winner had indeed committed a foul and moved the 65-1 longshot Country House up to the winner's circle.
I've heard it called the most egregious error in sports and every other sort of uncomplimentary thing, but I don't believe it rises to that level and I honestly don't know what I would have done in the same situation.
According to the horse's jockey, "He's a baby and he shied when we came around the corner and he heard the crowd. I got him back in line as quick as I could."
The massive pileup didn't happen, the horse won the race and looked like the best horse in the field but . . . he did foul.
Multiple millions of dollars were flip-flopped by the disqualification and the owners of the unfortunate horse have already filed suit over the decision.
I remember California Chrome, who was gunning for the Triple Crown, running fourth in the 2014 Belmont Stakes and one of his owners railing about horses running in the Belmont without running either of the other legs of the Triple Crown. I guess it's a sign of the times. If you don't win, cry loudly and litigate!
Right or wrong, the stewards made the call and I guarantee you that took a boatload of guts. Maybe the three of them should consider politics, we could use the courage they showed.