By Jennifer Thibodeaux Bourque and Michael – Louis Ingram
LAFAYETTE, LA and PHILADELPHIA, PA (www.basnnewsroom.com) The fastest two minutes in sport degraded into 22 minutes of “Truth or Dare” – and a humongous tragedy after the 145th edition of the Kentucky Derby.
As sporting events go, the tone of the day denigrated from victory to near – tragedy.
Nineteen horses and riders went to post, fifteen in the main gate and four in the auxiliary gate. Unless your hoss has a lot of speed at this track, he’s gonna get closed off at posts 1-2. The “sweet spot” at Churchill Downs appears to be between posts 5-8 (American Pharaoh won from the five-hole two years ago and Justify won from the seven posts last year.)
Maximum Security comes out of a clean break from post position #7 and gains the front before the first turn over the sloppy track. Rider Luis Saez sits chilly, working good fractions until the three-eighths pole…
As the field looks to straighten out into the stretch, War of Will (#1) and Tyler Gaffalione have been saving ground and sitting on a whole lotta hoss, waits to make a move. Saez drifts out two lanes past where he was, causing War of Will to check, always a risk because it can kill the hoss’ momentum…
While there was contact, it didn’t seem as it would force a rider objection or inquiry.
After shaking off Mike Smith (Code of Honor #13) and Flavian Prat (Country House #20), Maximum Security drives to the wire two and a half lengths ahead…
Immediately after the race jockey Jon Court, aboard Long Range Toddy (#18) called for an objection as Maximum Security’s bump with War of Will caused him to absorb contact and carry his horse out. Country House and jockey Flavian Prat (#20) also filed an objection for basically the same reason…
The stewards responsible for rulings in situations like this then look of the film and make their deliberation. If it is something immediately noticeable, the “INQ” sign will flash on the number/s/ involved; but if a jockey calls it, it is listed as an objection, and subject to review.
MEANWHILE, THE HERO EMERGES…
Many casual fans may not know who Tyler Gaffalione is, but every indication from beginning to finish, in my eyes his skill saved several lives on the soupy track that day.
Among the leading riders on the Florida track circuit, Gaffalione managed to negotiate his surging hoss safely while checking. With the video showing the strides between War of Will and Maximum Security in sync, momentarily overlapping for several seconds at over 40 miles an hour via over 1200 pounds – of Hoss Power!
With the sloppy track in effect, we’re talking multiple hosses and riders in a humongous spill, with definite loss of life.
Gaffalione is very much the hero; but, to my sis Jennifer Thibodeaux Bourque, jockey Saez is the villain. “Maximum Security cheated! He cuts War of Will off, then comes up with a bullshit excuse.
“He’s trying to claim ‘Security’ is a baby – but that bullshit doesn’t wash here. As the jockey, it is solely upon him to maintain his lane – in a race.”
Ironically, prior to post time, the track steward was videotaped coming into the jockey’s room reminding them to ‘maintain their professionalism’ on the track.
As the video is being looked at over and over again, most hoss players know an incident like Maximum Security’s reckless ride would call for a disqualification; but there has never been one like this with so much $$$ on the line.
The 1980 Preakness put the rough rider tactics of Angel Cordero, Jr. on display as he ran up on the wicked good filly Genuine Risk…
After 22 minutes, the decision is made. Maximum Security is DQ’D and placed out of the money. Country House is declared the official winner and bombs the tote board at 65 – 1!
Given the huge pools this race drives worldwide, a DQ represents a seismic shift in payouts from a near favorite at 7-1 to a $132 payout to win; a $3000 exacta, an $11,000 trifecta and a $51,000 superfecta!
With the four major sports gaining the Lion’s Share of programming, thoroughbred racing needs to make the most of its exposure, and this result puts several other options in play:
Maximum Security will skip The Preakness, taking a lot of ‘what if?’ with him.
Country House has also decided to miss the second leg of the Triple Crown taking millions of viewers and fans with them. The attendance at Pimlico will be far less than the 150,000 plus that showed up at Churchill…
Expect the argument for smaller fields to have some weight for future Derbies. make it the top fifteen entries, and that’s a wrap…
All things said I will put two bucks to win on anything Mr. Gaffalione is up on.
To be continued…