Post-Derby Thoughts: The Decision

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Not my usual post-Kentucky Derby analysis.

I scoured the internet Sunday for articles about what happened. Sought footage and still images. Here’s a pretty good overview as things were understood on Sunday night.

“DISQUALIFIED: Inside the Historic Decision That Shocked the Kentucky Derby” by Tim Layden, who also served as one of the essayists for NBC Sports, for Sports Illustrated.

Before I read that article, I knew a second jockey had come forward but didn’t know which one.

“Casse: ‘Horse Racing World Should Be Happy War of Will Is Such An Athlete’ ”  by the Churchill Downs Media office in The Paulick Report.

Absolutely. But also his jockey Tyler Gaffalione is no slouch, either. Tyler pulled him up, and War of Will responded. Good rider, good horse, good moment. Catastrophic disaster averted.

“The Stewards Were Right But the System is Wrong” by Bill Finley in the Thoroughbred Daily News.

The rule was broken. The stewards took safety seriously. But maybe the penalty doesn’t fit the crime? Maybe a huge, ginormous fine would be in order.

“Tough Call: For Stewards, Officiating the Derby Is A Tall Order,” a 2016 article by Natalie Voss for The Paulick Report.

You’ll find the comments interesting on that one.

The Kentucky Derby tends to attract casual race fans, so some have had trouble understanding why this had to happen. Stewards enforce the letter of the law.

MacGuyver and I have explained it to non-horse racing fans to clicked over to the Derby kind of like this:

Imagine it’s January or February, and you’re driving home from work.

Earlier that day, the roads were clear. You’d heard about how you were at work, the weather warmed up enough for rain, but when the sun went down, so did the temps.

But you’re nice and toasty in your car. If you’re lucky, your heated seats are easing the tension in your back.

You’re driving along, but your tires skid. Your car is veering into oncoming traffic.

The seconds extend into slo-mo playing out before your horrified eyes. As your heart pounds and your chest tightens, the idea pops into your head: Oh, no. Black ice!

Everything near you explodes into chaos. The driver in the other lane swerves over. Her car screeches along the guard rail. She overcorrects. You glimpse the outline of some small heads in the back.

A smash of metal on metal tells you the car behind you slammed into a parked car.

So, who gets the ticket or fine or the legal papers served with their name as a defendant?

The driver who lost control of the car.


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