In the aftermath of the 2019 Kentucky Derby, in which initial winner Maximum Security became the first winner ever to be disqualified, Derby officials have declared their intent to turn the event into a slot-style race in 2020, eliminating the chances that one horse could impede the progress of another and again create chaos and controversy around horse racing’s most celebrated event.
“The disruption caused by allowing one horse to veer as much as a foot off course from a perfectly direct line of travel caused too many complications,” Race official Barbara Borden told reporters, adding “while the incident of Maximum Security veering on the muddy course seems to be incidental, such an occurrence also encourages strategic racing. In the 145 year history of this event, we had never once anticipated that strategic racing might be utilized, which really spoils the fun element for the horses and riders who show up to run the course casually. We’re hopeful that the new practice of placing the horse and rider on a pole that stays in a slot on the track so the horses can no longer cluster or impede one another will alleviate these concerns.”
“We expect that we might run into some trouble with animal activists over impaling the horses to keep them positioned on the poles so they cannot leave their slotted lanes, but that that can’t be our concern right now. Restoring the honor and legitimacy of the race would be where that concern belongs,” Borden explained.
Borden also assured Derby fans that while longshot winner Country House received the traditional blanket of 554 roses and the elaborate Kentucky Derby trophy along with the purse winnings, the other horses — including the disqualified Maximum Security — did receive smaller trophies and lovely rose bridle pin for participating in the event.