Fred Faour: Kentucky Derby conspiracy theories, part 2

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gonzalo Anteliz Jr/CSM/Shutterstock (13854602p) , 2023, Hallandale Beach, FL, USA: Forte (11) ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., wins the Florida Derby on Florida Derby Day at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida on Gonzalo Anteliz, Jr./Eclipse Sportswire/CSM Horse Racing Florida Derby Day, Hallandale Beach, USA – 01 Apr 2023

Fred Faour: Kentucky Derby conspiracy theories, part 2

Mattress Mack has an awesome promo where if the Kentucky Derby favorite wins you get your furniture free. Check out the flyer below, then let’s look at Derby conspiracies part 2:

As we explored yesterday, there are no shortages of horse racing and Kentucky Derby conspiracies. Perhaps the biggest involved the disqualification of Maximum Security for interference in the 2019 Derby.

When there is an inquiry or objection, it goes to a group called the stewards, who make a judgement. If the horse interfered with another, it can be disqualified. The stewards have to ask themselves two questions: Did the horse impede another horse? Did it change the outcome of the race? This is very common in low-level racing, but rarely do you see it in an event on the scale of the Kentucky Derby.

Think of it as pass interference in football; purely a judgement call. And you don’t make that call on Hail Marys.

Yet that is just what the stewards did to Maximum Security. Fouls like that happen every day in racing, and rarely is there a DQ. It was simply a bad call. The question is, why? There is no real reason to take down a heavily bet 9-2 shot to put up a 60-1 shot. It discourages the public from betting money.

So like many of the conspiracies we looked at, there is not a lot to back up that it was done intentionally. Like many things we see, it was simply incompetence on the part of the stewards.

The track does not benefit either way, because everything is in a common pool. The amount paid to the bettors is the same. A 60-1 shot is dispersed among the fewer ticket holders than the 9-2.

The only real possibility of conspiracy is Country House was trained by Bill Mott, horse racing royalty. Did the stewards really want a horse that ran for a claiming price early in its career to win? Kentucky Derby winners are supposed to be royalty. If that was the real reason, those stewards should be fired. There is no indication that was the case, but considering all the other controversies, questions needed to be asked. As we mentioned yesterday, two Baffert horses – Justify and Medina Spirit – sandwiched this controversy. If Rich Strike, last year’s winner, was on drugs, would they have covered it up? Could the Derby survive that many controversies?

We will never know. For the blue bloods (and your furniture bet), the best thing would be for favored Forte to win on Saturday. The bad news is the bettors always suffer. If you bet Mandaloun to win that year, you were out of luck despite the DQ. We can only hope for a fairly run race.

Let’s see how it plays out.

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