Those who watched the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday witnessed history. Maximum Security, the favorite to win the race at 4-1, crossed the finish line first, and those who put their time, energy, and money behind that horse to win celebrated. But thanks to an objection, a lengthy review, and eventually an interference ruling, Maximum Security was disqualified.
Instead, Country House, which entered Saturday with 65-1 odds to win the race, won by nature of crossing the finish line second. It was a stunning outcome, the first time in the lengthy history of the race that the horse that moseyed across the finish line before the rest of the pack was not declared its winner. Here was the moment that will go down in history as being the one that cost Maximum Security a win.
Everyone loves a good underdog story, but some might feel bad for Maximum Security, which by nature of being a horse did not know it was doing something illegal. It got something it worked hard to achieve stripped away from it, something few people know as well as Lil Nas X, the artist behind “Old Town Road.” The song, of course, was controversially pulled from the Billboard Country charts after it debuted.
Following the ruling coming down, Lil Nas X offered a kind word to Maximum Security.
Sadly, Maximum Security will never know what it means to get support from another human who can empathize with a personal level. Even worse, it’ll never know that “Old Town Road” is a heat rock, because horses are incapable of listening to and processing the common joy we as humans experience every day that is music. More so than anything that could happen on a race track, that’s the biggest tragedy of them all.