West: There Will Be Litigation

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8:10 am

'As Non-Transparent As Anything I've Seen'

During an appearance on The Today Show this morning, owner Gary West said he willl file an appeal of the decision by stewards to take down Maximum Security from his win of the Kentucky Derby.

He also said his team will bypass the Preakness Stakes.

Here's a transcript of his comments.

“We are going to file an appeal today with the State Racing Commission. Right after the race, I had the trainer call the stewards and very nicely ask them if they would be willing to visit with us after the races were over. We said we’d well stay here til 11, 12:00 at night, whatever you want.

"They said, `absolutely not. We won’t be showing the films until Thursday.’ So we did not have any alternative legally. The appeal has to be filed within 48 hours, so we’ll be filing that today.

“Obviously, we can’t appeal to the stewards who made the decision, if the state racing commission refuses to hear about it. I think that this is something that is big enough and the entire racing world is looking at this and I think they deserve an opportunity to know what was going on

"I was a bit shocked and surprised that the stewards wrote a statement that was probably prepared by their lawyers and refused -- literally refused --to take a single question from the media. So they’ve been about as non-transparent about this whole thing as anything I’ve seen in my entire life.

“I obviously saw the horse move out, but in the Kentucky Derby where you’ve got 20 horses -- and you shouldn’t have 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs,  because they’re a greedy organization, has that rather than 14 like you have in the Kentucky Oaks, the Breeders’ Cup, and every other race in America. Just because they can make more money they’re willing to risk horses lives and people’s lives to do that. I’m not a fan of that. I think they should have 14 like every other race.

"But, yes, I saw the horse move out. Every Kentucky Derby, you could set down two or three horses or four horses if you wanted to because it’s like a rodeo out there.

"The thing that is mystifying to me to me is that the stewards were either looking at it with a high-definition television or with binoculars. Our horse was in the lead the entire way around.

"They looked at exactly what the whole rest of the world looked at, and they didn’t file a stewards inquiry. I can’t imagine that it was very obvious to them, either.

“We’re not going to run in the Preakness. There’s no Triple Crown on the line for us, and there’s no reason to run a horse back in two weeks when you don’t have to.”

By Dick Downey