MAXIMUM Security’s jockey Jockey Luis Saez, who a competing trainer has said rode like a “drunk driver” in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, is prepared to defend both his honor and his license.

Saez, whose horse was disqualified for interfering with other horses, has hired well-known Louisville trial lawyer Ann Oldfather to defend him if the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission tries to discipline him for his role in Saturday’s controversial Kentucky Derby race.

War of Will trainer Mark Casse, whose horse was involved in the interference that eventually disqualified Maximum Security from victory, has accused Saez of intentionally trying to block other horses.

Oldfather said Thursday that Casse’s allegations are baseless and that she believes Saez had a “flawless ride” under “great duress.”

Oldfather is known as a fierce divorce lawyer and civil litigator who won millions of dollars in back pay for Louisville firefighters, and for a $6.1 million verdict against McDonald’s for a teenaged employee who was strip searched and sexually abused — at the direction of a hoax caller — at its restaurant in Mount Washington.

Maximum Security, the first-place finisher, was disqualified and dropped to 17th when stewards ruled he drifted out of his running lane and impacted the progress of other horses in the race. Country House was declared the winner.

Casse’s comments came in response to Maximum Security owner Gary West blaming War of Will’s jockey for initiating contact on the final turn.

Jockeys may be fined or suspended for intentional wrongdoing or careless riding. Stewards also could require education for the jockeys, Oldfather said.

Unlike the disqualification of a horse, disciplinary sanctions against a jockey can be appealed to the commission and the courts.

-from USA Today
-Photo: America’s Best Racing

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