Congratulations to Country House, the Champion at Churchill Downs in this year’s Kentucky Derby! In a dramatic ruling which had not been seen in the event’s 145-year history, first place finisher Maximum Security was disqualified for interfering with the paths of several competitors on the sloppy track. Country House was a long shot at 65-1 and, by being elevated from runner-up to winner, helped Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott lock in his first ever Derby win!
The days leading up to the Run for the Roses saw drama that nearly matched the final objection ruling. Wednesday before the race, favorite Omaha Beach, who was scheduled to be run by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith (who also rode Triple Crown-winner Justify in the 2018 Derby), was scratched due to a breathing issue. The very next day Haikal was found to have an infection in his left foot that wasn’t healing properly, forcing another scratch. This sent oddsmakers into a frenzy, trying to pinpoint the strongest remaining horse(s) that could take home the roses.
It was the first time in about six years that a clear front runner wasn’t apparent, leading to potentially lucrative payouts for betting fans. While the big names in horse training & breeding were well represented by the likes of Bob Baffert (Improbable, Game Winner, and Roadster) and Bill Mott (Country House and Tacitus), some notable underdogs were present as well. The first Japanese bred horse, Master Fencer, was also a longshot and finished in a respectable 6th place.
In the end though, it was Country House that won an exhilarating 145th Kentucky Derby! If you want to go watch history be made next May, now is the time to act! Click on “More Info” to the right to view ISM packages!