President Donald J. Trump took time out of his Sunday morning routine to Tweet his disappointment with the stewards' decision to disqualify Maximum Security as the winner of the Kentucky Derby because of interference.
Country House was elevated to first place after a 22 1/2-minute review by stewards at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., found that jockey Luis Saez and Maximum Security interfered with several horses on the stretch turn.
“The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one,” Trump Tweeted to his 60 million followers on Twitter. “It was a rough and tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!”
The president has no direct ties to horse racing, though he briefly dabbled with the possibility of owning a horse in the late 1980s while operating a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. frequented by Robert LiButti, a high rolling gambler and reputed mob associate whose family's Lion Crest Stable owned multiple Grade 1 winner Devil His Due.
LiButti bought a Raise a Native colt for $90,000 at the 1987 Keeneland July Selected Yearling Sale and later tried to convince Trump to buy it for $500,000 according to published reports. Trump reportedly agreed to buy the horse from Libutti for $250,000 if its name, Alibi, was changed to D. J. Trump. The name was changed, according to The Jockey Club records, but the horse never raced and Trump allegedly never paid LiButti, who would later be convicted of income tax evasion and sentenced to prison for five years. LiButti died in 2014.
Two of the three stewards who voted unanimously to disqualify Maximum Security are employed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (the third steward works for Churchill Downs). The commission's executive director is Marc Guilfoil, whose sister, Kelly Craft, was nominated by Trump two days before the Kentucky Derby to be United States ambassador to the United Nations. Craft, a well-known Republican fundraiser, is currently ambassador to Canada. She is married to Kentucky coal magnate Joe Craft.
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