Maximum Security running the Florida Derby. | Photo by Leslie Martin

By Janet Patton | Lexington Herald-Leader

Maximum Security’s owners sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and its members, staff and the stewards who disqualified the horse in the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

The federal lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Frankfort late Tuesday, called the disqualification process “bizarre and unconstitutional” and seeks to have the stewards’ decision reversed and the original order of finish reinstated “confirming that Maximum Security is the official winner of the Derby who remains undefeated.”

Maximum Security (7) with Luis Saez up, and Country House (20) with Flavien Prat up, down the final stretch in the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, May 4, 2019. | Photo by Alex Slitz/ Lexington Herald-Leader

The lawsuit asserts that the lack of an appeals process for the stewards’ ruling denies Maximum Security’s owners their due process rights. And the owners argue that the decision was not supported by “substantial evidence on the whole record.”

According to the lawsuit, the stewards disallowed the objection by Flavien Prat, the jockey on Country House, who was elevated to the winner after Maximum Security was disqualified. The suit asserts the stewards disallowed Prat’s objection “because it was meritless.”

But they sustained an objection by Jon Court, the jockey on Long Range Toddy, and it was as a result of that objection that Maximum Security was moved from first to 17th place, the suit alleges.

The suit also asserts that the stewards did not interview Tyler Gaffalione, the jockey on War of Will, or Chris Landeros, the jockey on Bodexpress, the other horses named as impacted when Maximum Security drifted wide under jockey Luis Saez, who has been suspended by the racing commission for 15 days.

According to the filing, the losses to bettors on Maximum Security “is estimated to be more than $100 million.”