June 24, 2020
I am guessing that the highlight of Gary and Mary West’s life occurred at approximately 5:38 p.m. on May 4, 2019, when their thoroughbred, Maximum Security, crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby. Their luck changed for the worse about 15 minutes later, and it hasn’t been a bed of roses since.
First, Maximum Security was disqualified for coming out at the top of the stretch, impeding at least two horses in the process. Unfortunately, the horse that benefited most from the disqualification, Country House, who was promoted to the winner’s circle, hadn’t been bothered by Maximum Security. But the stewards’ decision was the correct one, and no one would have quarreled with it had the same incident occurred in a midweek race among claiming nags at a backwater race track.
The Wests immediately filed suit in federal court seeking to have the stewards’ decision overturned. Last November, however, the court held that they had no right to judicial review and that they had no constitutional due process interests that the court could adjudicate, and dismissed the action.
Things seemed to be turning rosier for the Wests last February when Maximum Security was flown to Saudi Arabia to compete in the $20 million Saudi Cup, the single richest horse race in the world, and then proceeded to beat the best horses in the world.
Unfortunately, in March, Maximum Security’s trainer, Jason Servis was indicted, along with 26 others, for an alleged racehorse-doping scheme which implicated Maximum Security. The Wests’ share of the $20 million Saudi Cup purse is being withheld.
The Wests are still holding out hope that the federal appeals court, which held oral arguments remotely last week, will reverse the lower court’s order.
But the horse is out of the barn.