Kentucky Derby appeal of disqualification ruling denied by officials

An appeal filed with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Monday regarding the disqualification of Maximum Security — the horse who initially won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, but was later disqualified — has been denied.

Barry Stilz, the attorney for Gary West, told Fox News that the appeal was filed because the "rules were not appropriately applied." The decision to overturn Maximum Security’s win at the 145th running of the event was shocking, as West said he was in “disbelief" at the unprecedented ruling.

The horse's disqualification was "not subject to appeal," the commission said.

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The commission's denial letter, obtained by Fox News, states that, according to regulating guidelines, a stewards' determination "shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal."

Gary West also told “Today” that Maximum Security will not be racing in the Preakness Stakes later this month, after the horse's hopes for capturing a Triple Crown were dashed over the weekend.

Luis Saez rides Maximum Security, right, across the finish line first against Flavien Prat on Country House during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky.

Luis Saez rides Maximum Security, right, across the finish line first against Flavien Prat on Country House during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

On Saturday, stewards spent 20 minutes going over video of the race from various perspectives before ultimately deciding to disqualify Maximum Security for impeding progress around the turn for the home stretch.

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The stewards cited a section of the rules that called for disqualification if “a leading horse or any other horse in a race swerves or is ridden to either side so as to interfere with, intimidate, or impede any other horse or jockey.”

The stewards awarded 65-1 longshot Country House the victory. It was the first time the Kentucky Derby's victor had been disqualified since Dancer's Image in 1968. Dancer's Image was disqualified after traces of the drug phenylbutazone was discovered in his urine postrace.

West said he was upset that chief steward Barbara Borden didn’t take any questions after making the ruling.

“I think the fact that the head steward would not take any questions shows complete lack of transparency and, optically, appears they know they made a bad decision and needed some time to put the best possible spin on their extremely questionable decision,” he told the New York Post on Sunday.

President Trump also appeared to be displeased with the outcome of the event, blaming it on “political correctness.”

"The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one," Trump tweeted. "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!"

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The Preakness is set to take place May 18, followed by The Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Fox News’ Matt Finn, Nicole Darrah and Elizabeth Zwirz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.