A typical suspension only lasts three to five days, but Saez is suspended for 15
The 145th Kentucky Derby was a wild ride, and now jockey Luiz Saez is suspended for 15 days following his performance during the competition.
Saez was riding Maximum Security, who was first named the winner of the Derby before, minutes later, an inquiry ruling named Country House as the official champion. The reversal came after jockey Flavien Prat filed a rider’s objection claiming Maximum Security had impeded the path in the final turn. The objection was upheld following an extensive review.
It was the first time in Derby history that a horse who crossed the finish line first was disqualified due to a race riding incident.
Now Saez is suffering the consequences as well, suspended for “failure to control his mount and make the proper effort to maintain a straight course thereby causing interference with several rivals that resulted in the disqualification of his mount,” according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
His attorney, Ann Oldfather, told ESPN that they plan to appeal the decision. If the appeal is not successful, Saez will be barred from riding on any track for 15 racing days, which includes May 23-27, May 30-June 2, June 6-9, and June 13-14.
“Fifteen days, in my opinion, is making a statement by the stewards of Kentucky,” seventh-place finisher War of Will trainer Mark Casse told ESPN. He explained that a typical suspension is usually three to five days.
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During a film review session on May 10, Oldfather presented a video to the Churchill Downs stewards claiming that War of Will and his jockey Tyler Gaffalione were the ones responsible for the incident, not Saez and Maximum Security, ESPN reported.
While some racing fans may have hoped to see Country House try to pull off the Triple Crown — winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes all in the same year — he will not be competing in Preakness, which is scheduled for May 18.