Service of That’s Horse Racing–The 2019 Kentucky Derby Outcome a Metaphor for Life

May 6th, 2019

Categories: Collaboration, Loser, Sports, Winning


I always watch the Kentucky Derby though I don’t follow the sport and choose my favorite by name–a sure path to failure. I rooted for Plus Que Parfait this Saturday.

As I watched on Saturday I was reporting developments by text to friends who were in a bus. I couldn’t believe it when Maximum Security, who won by many lengths, faced 20+ minutes of limbo while stewards–horse racing referees–studied the videotapes.


When one of the stewards reported the Commission’s unanimous decision to the press–that Maximum Security was out and Country House was the official winner–she took no questions.

The odds for Country House were 65 to one and the payout $132.40. Imagine the chaos at the betting windows in those edge-of-their-seats 20 minutes.


The metaphor to life of the outcome was gut wrenching, reminding me of the times I was the unlikely winner–my boutique PR agency selected to represent brands at a Fortune 50 company for example or me chosen by awards committees to receive recognition–and the times I could almost taste a positive outcome that didn’t happen and the subsequent sickening sinking feeling of disappointment: All that work and elation leading to failure.

I am on the side of Maximum Security. And you? Do you agree with the Maximum Security team that is appealing the decision to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission?




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16 Responses to “Service of That’s Horse Racing–The 2019 Kentucky Derby Outcome a Metaphor for Life”

  1. BC Said:

    Seems there is no clear cut evidence of a foul, or they would have shown it in the films. Do believe all horses were slipping and sliding do to the mud and slush. Clearly, Max. Security won the race. Yes, I would appeal , as the weather had a profound influence on the race.

  2. Hank Goldman Said:

    Life on life’s terms. Not ours. It’s not fair sometimes. Just how it goes.

    As Leonard Cohen sang: everybody knows !!!

  3. Kathleen Said:

    The best example of tasting victory and having it taken away at the last moment is Hillary’s loss of the 2016 election. Her victory party was all set with balloons ready to descend from the ceiling. I’m sure she still can’t believe the outcome.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree with all your points. There wasn’t an ounce of bad sportsmanship with the Maximum Security jockey. Working against an appeal by his team: The logistics of returning all the money given to those who bet on Country House!

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Life isn’t fair but when it is a person who tips the scales or a decision that could go either way it is particularly hard to take for the loser. I’m thinking of an account lost that had already been decided before I went to the trouble to research and write a proposal. The relative of the director of marketing was slated to get the account but the company had a rule that at least three had to pitch it. In addition to time lost I paid for travel and hotel to present in person across country which added salt to that wound.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    How could I forget? What is the matter with me? Yours is the perfect example.

  7. EAM Said:

    Someone got an early start this morning with your blog! It’s never a clear-cut situation when these things happen and I think the outcome is unfortunate. I understand big money is at stake but a ruling was made and I think Max. Security needs to move on.

  8. EAM Said:

    Agree, great example Kathleen and it went uncontested by her (not by the majority)!

  9. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie wrote on Facebook: Hard for me to comment as I am unclear about permissible strategies to win

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Take a look at some of the comments on the post–especially Kathleen’s.

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    We’ll agree to disagree–mine is an emotional decision as much as anything. I did see the competition and watched during the excruciating 20 minute wait and think that the racing commission handled things poorly. I also think that BC in the first comment made excellent points in favor of an appeal.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Good point–Hillary did not contest the outcome.

    Kathleen–Kudos again for a spot-on example to illustrate my point.

  13. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie wrote on Facebook: But what remains unclear is if the jockey (in trying to control the horse) went into forbidden territory which ultimately got him disqualified. I don’t recall other jockeys ever launching a protest after the race for the same infraction

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t follow horseracing so I can’t address whether such an infraction has been reported before. It might well have been but not against the winner at the K Derby and there has been only one other time the apparent winner was disqualified and that was because he had a forbidden drug in him.

    Neither jockey who made the complaint rode the winner, Country Home. I question how, at the speeds they were going with mud in their faces and on their goggles, they could see anything. I also wonder why it took 20 minutes to determine the outcome. It should have been immediately clear to the refs/stewards to call an upset like this.

  15. Lucrezia Said:

    I don’t know enough about horseracing to have much of an opinion. Technicalities are often used to get out of a given scrape (like fighting a speeding ticket) or to acquire an undeserved advantage — such as in sports. That said, perhaps an appeal is warranted, if only to go over the facts, clear the air, and possibly resolve the issue once and for all.

    I watched my first and only Derby several years back and determined that this activity isn’t for everyone, me included!

  16. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Maximum Security’s owners appealed but the racing commission did not allow it. As a result the owners have removed the horse from the Preakness, the second of the three races that make up the Triple Crown.

    This is a race that followers won’t soon forget.

    I have been to a few racetracks and watch the Derby every year. I find it far more exciting than most other sports on or off TV.

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